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Gender + Sexuality

Please Advise! Will IVF Treatment Earn God’s Wrath?

It’s complicated, says Dr. Steve, and depends on where you live.

Steve Burgess 27 Feb 2024The Tyee

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible. ]

Dear Dr. Steve,

The B.C. budget includes funding for the first round of invitro fertilization treatments for people wanting to start families.

Didn't I read some other news stories about IVF recently?


News Buff

Dear Newsy,

It has indeed been a fertile week for that particular acronym. The B.C. government could hardly have known that their modest IVF initiative, set to begin next spring, would be announced shortly after the Alabama Supreme Court unleashed the wrath of Jehovah on sinners who hope to conjure up children through the scientific wiles of Satan.

And that's no great exaggeration — in his concurring decision, Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote: “Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God... the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state.”

The prophet Jeremiah is not known to have visited Victoria, which is no surprise — if you think ferry service is bad now, you should have seen it then. That must be why Premier David Eby and Finance Minister Katrine Conroy were able to flout the will of the Lord with impunity. In fact, God may well be pissed about the new home-flipping tax, too. “In my Father's house are many mansions,” Jesus said. You've got to think no pissant provincial pharaoh is going to tell Him how to manage heavenly real estate.

Eby's budget has a deficit of Biblical proportions — it certainly does not seem to be what conservative accountants would call a Good Book. But it's the IVF plan that would really shock those Bible Belt judges. Down in the hotbed of Christian Nationalism, they'd say the NDP is playing God.

Alabama's Supreme Court ruled that a frozen embryo was indeed a person. The ruling opened up intriguing possibilities — if frozen embryos are children, might it now be possible to freeze a bratty six-year-old? Toss him right into the supermarket freezer, mid-tantrum?

Alas, that was not the thrust of the decision. To be precise, the Alabama court was ruling on the legality of frozen embryos being destroyed rather than implanted, but the practical effects are the same for the hospitals and facilities now risking the righteous wrath of the state for any improper disposal of frozen eggs. The ruling effectively put the freeze on IVF treatment. Who knows what the collateral effects might be? If you're a line cook at a Tuscaloosa Denny's, you might want to check with a lawyer before making that Denver omelette. Step aside, Spanish Inquisition — here comes the Crimson Tide.

For U.S. Republicans, this decision about eggs has resulted in chickens coming home to roost. Many have tried to disavow the Alabama ruling but since most of them backed the Life at Conception Act, which makes no exceptions for IVF treatment, their stated support of IVF collides with their hardcore anti-abortion-no-exceptions policy. The Alabama court has forced them to reckon with what is essentially a political Sophie's Choice. Things always get awkward for would-be theocracies when they have to compromise about stuff like shirt buttons, powered flight and suffering fortune tellers to live.

On the topic of IVF, B.C. is going in another direction (as have provincial governments in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec). Will publicity about the new B.C. budget lead to a sudden influx of Alabama refugees? Couples seeking to start families, medical professionals hoping to practise modern medicine, people hoping to wear shirts made of cotton-polyester blends?

Well, when they get here they better not be planning to flip any real estate.

And when the ram's horn sounds, let it be proclaimed that the Climate Action Tax Credit shall see increase, and the BC Electricity Affordability Credit will save households an average of $100 on their electricity bills.

Hear the word of Eby. Amen, mofos.  [Tyee]

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