Alabama: every sperm is sacred but human rights are profane

The delicate work of dealing with in vitro cultured embryos. PHOTO: Shutterstock
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There was a collective scream of anger when the Alabama Supreme Court declared that a frozen embryo — a tiny speck that fits in a test tube — has more rights than the owner of its future womb. Some fancy footwork by the Alabama legislature mitigated the problems this decision created for those seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. However, lawmakers left in place the premise that an embryo is a person.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. The motive behind the so-called “right to life” is control, not compassion. This decision is the illogical conclusion of believing that every fertilized egg, whether viable or not, counts as a person.

This is an ideology straight out of the Catholic Church. It is why so many who cover themselves in the mantle of pro-life are opposed to most, if not all, forms of contraception and IVF. And it shows how this fight is really about bodily autonomy. That is why the fight for fertility treatments is tied to abortion rights, trans freedom, queer liberation, and more.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, there have been successful efforts to codify the right to abortion into state law. People have hit the streets to work on this issue.

And so the Democratic Party machine is belatedly promoting a “freedom to choose” stance to help it win in November. But this is an unreliable posture by politicians who won’t come out and say the word “abortion.”

Labor’s vital role

The majority of working people support legal abortion, and the power of organized labor is needed to preserve this right, which is especially threatened in anti-union states like Alabama. The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice (NMRJ), a project initiated by Radical Women, is urging unions to move boldly on this issue of importance to the entire workforce.

As of late March, over 500 unions, labor bodies and individuals have signed an appeal calling on the AFL-CIO to take the lead, starting with a national conference to strategize defense of reproductive rights. Any union can join this fight — find information at reprojusticenow.org.

Now is the time to act.

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