There’s so much wrong with this article in the New York Times, I hardly know where to begin.

Here’s the summary: There’s this program called Snowflakes, which essentially allows couples to “adopt” leftover IVF embryos that would otherwise go unused, and it appeals primarily to Christian conservatives, who believe that every embryo should be given the opportunity to be gestated and born, as opposed to frozen, discarded, or donated for research.

Okay, now let’s take a look at the problems with this article, starting with the headline, “From Stem Cell Opponents, an Embryo Crusade.” First of all, it obfuscates the clear delineation between stem cells and embryos once again. Not all stem cell research is done on embryos; stem cells are found in people of all ages, as well as in umbilical cord blood, which is why cord blood banking is becoming a booming business—though it won’t do much good if stem cell research never goes anywhere. Secondly, can we please fucking can it with the word “crusade” already? The crusades were, like, not really all that nice a thing; in fact, lots and lots of people lost their lives at the hands of the crusaders, which also makes the choice of the word for this purpose (no doubt unintentionally) ironic and indicative of the ever-lowering literacy of the Times editors.

Mr. McClure, though, disliked the fertility business, which he felt created extra embryos that were often destroyed or aborted. He feared that paying fees to receive the embryos would be helping an industry "that I have real problems with."

He consulted a Southern Baptist church elder, who advised him, " 'If you want to free the slaves, sometimes you have to deal with the slave trader,' " Mr. McClure said.
Eh? Come again? When was the last time you invoked a “slave trader” in everyday conversation? Yet such references always seem to be at the tip of the Dominionists’ minds. Disturbing. I won’t even go into my feelings about how the name of the program, which was ostensibly named “to reflect the frozen uniqueness of each embryo,” seems to me to be a not-so-subtle homage to the color of the vast majority of the embryos involved.

With that, the McClures, who are in their 40's and live in Bellevue, Wash., decided to take 13 embryos from a fertility clinic in Austin, Tex. They had a son 10 months ago and became part of an unexpected alliance that conservative Christians have been forming with the world of test-tube babies.

That alliance was on prominent display last week when, to protest a bill supporting the use of embryos for stem cell research, President Bush appeared with the McClures and 20 other Snowflakes families, kissing the babies, some of whom wore T-shirts that said "former embryo," or "this embryo was not discarded." Federal and state lawmakers have held similar appearances.
Aside from the fact that, since the majority of Americans and the majority of Congress supporting stem cell research, Bush ought to spend his time on more pressing issues like the tanking economy or the war in Iraq, instead of hanging out with babies for photo ops, I’d like to note that any human being could have donned one of those idiotic t-shirts. Unless you’re from Ork and are currently in the process of reverse aging, you were at some point a non-discarded former embryo.

"I think appearing with Snowflakes kids is a potent symbol, and I think it illustrates the truth, which is that the embryo is just that child at an earlier stage of development," said Bill Saunders, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics.
Yes, the stage of development where it has no brain, no recognizable human traits, and no ability to exist outside of a freezer or a womb.

Couples adopting or donating Snowflakes embryos are mostly Christian, and most embryo donors are white, Ms. Maze said. … Couples must agree to adoption-like procedures: receiving families are screened and must undergo counseling, and Snowflakes allows donating and receiving families to designate criteria for each other, meet and maintain contact after birth. Adopting couples must agree not to abort any embryos.

Those conditions were fine with Bob and Angie Deacon of Virginia Beach, Va., who donated their 13 embryos after having twins and being discouraged from another pregnancy by a doctor. "With another program, to be honest with you, they could have been adopted by lesbian parents, and I'm totally against that," said Mr. Deacon, 35.
In response to that quote, Justin Cognito noted on The Evil Petting Zoo, “I don't know what's more outrageous: that Bush is pushing a program that allows people to enforce bigotry against others, or that the New York Times is reporting it like it's nothing special.” Exactly my thought.

But here’s the problem with trying to enforce bigotry. So you guarantee your donated embryo isn’t going to be raised by dykes, but what happens if little Johnny Embryo turns out to be a fag? I guess from his perspective, it would suck either way—biological parents who are resolute homobigots, or adoptive parents who are resolute homobigots. Tomato, tomahto. Is there a difference in how those parents would treat him? Maybe not. Maybe he’d be equally screwed either way. Maybe either way he’d grow up to be a closeted Republican fuckwit who uses Boy Scout camping trips to get a gander at prepube tushy.

I suppose Mr. Deacon doesn’t believe his very heterosexual sperm and Mrs. Deacon’s very heterosexual egg would ever produce a homosexual child, so it’s not of concern to them. It’s of concern to me, though. It has to be. It’s the kids who have parents like the Deacons who end up the most likely to kill themselves simply because they’re gay…and had the misfortune of being born in a house where death is preferable.

Ultimately, I don’t think this is so much different from many adoptions where the birth mothers chose the parents. She looks at binders full of pictures of smiling, perhaps slightly desperate, couples, attached to résumés that list their jobs, their incomes, their family health histories, their religious beliefs, maybe even their political persuasions, why they would make the perfect parents for someone else’s unwanted child. Recently, a gay couple I know met with an adoption agency where they were told gay couples were usually selected quite quickly, for no readily discernible reason. So maybe it all comes out in the adoption wash, so to speak. That many of the conservative Christians involved in this are bigots is nothing by which one should be surprised.

The only lingering problem I have (besides the increasingly typical idiocy of the Times) is the president’s endorsement of the program, the politicization of embryonic donation as juxtaposed against stem cell research, when the two aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s a red herring, more of the disingenuous posturing we’ve come to know so well and, resignedly, expect from this administration.

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