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Alabama Supreme Court creates another abortion controversy

Alabama Supreme Court creates another abortion controversy

In a recent 8-to-1 decision, The Alabama Supreme Court declared the embryo to be a “child” from the moment of conception.  Before dealing with the specifics of the ruling, I say the Court was wrong in calling the embryo a “child”.

Declaring the viable embryo to be a “child” was not accurate by definition – and only adds to confusion.  The embryo in the womb at its earliest stages is not a child by colloquial understanding of the word.  The use of the word undermines the entire premise on which pro-life positions are advanced.  It gives undeserved credibility to the claim that the person in the womb is NOT a child, ergo not a protectable human. 

The pro-life position may be expressed in religious terms by some, but it is not founded on theology. While religious beliefs may be incidental in support of the life of the unborn, they are not the primary basis.  The pro-life position is based on the secular civic belief in the value of human life – and the assumption of the inalienable civil (not just religious) rights of every human at every stage of development. 

The pro-abortion position has taken hold in American society based on a number of narratives that misrepresent the facts.  Here are some of the basic FACTS that refute the narratives.

  1. From the time of conception, we have a “developing human” being.  That is an irrefutable FACT.  Conception merges the female egg and male sperm, creating all the DNA of a specific and individual human being.  In that biological coding is the gender, the hair and eye colors, skin tone, body proportions – based on the contributions of the mother AND the father.  Everything down to a single hair follicle of hair on the left eyelid.
  2. Contrary to the mantra, the developing human is NOT an integral part of the woman’s body.  It is a separate life.  It is not standard equipment, or something developed independently by a woman’s body, such as a wart or breast cancer.  That is why we refer to an abortion as a “termination” – as opposed to the “removal” of a body part, such as a gall bladder.  We are terminating – ending — the life of the developing human being.  That is a biological FACT.
  3. Contrary to the claim of a woman’s exclusive authority over the developing human being in her womb, it is the result of the contribution of a female AND a male.  An irrefutable FACT.  The disregard for the role – the responsibility, rights and interests – of the male runs contrary to American law and custom.  It leads to the irrational situation in which the father has no rights in determining the life of HIS offspring – and yet can be held financially liable for the support of the child.  It is unique to American jurisprudence that a person with absolute liability has no rights.
  4. The claim that abortion is a woman’s health issue is bogus.  The vast majority of abortions terminate healthy developing human beings in the wombs of healthy women.  A woman’s health is potentially at greater risk from the procedure than from giving birth.  More than 90 percent of abortions-on-demand are based on economics, convenience and lifestyle choices – not health.
  5. The right to life – and all the other inalienable civil rights – are bestowed on a developing human being at some point.  That is another FACT.  The point of contention between the pro-life and pro-abortion communities is when that moment is reached.  Science has not been informative.  It has been incapable of identifying the biological distinction when that developing human being becomes a person – a citizen – with the full range of constitutional rights.  Most public opinion places that moment sometime during the gestation period – between conception and physical birth.  However, when that moment occurs differs widely even among abortion proponents.  Because the legal timing of abortions is contingent on imprecise public opinion, the decision is purely political – determined by politicians and courts – without any basis in science or logic.

For the most part, the debate over abortion deals with pregnant women.  The Alabama court turned the bright light of public attention onto a subtext – but important – issue.  It addresses the entire subject of in vitro fertilization (IVF).  It is a procedure most often used by couples who experience difficulties in achieving pregnancy by normal means.

The method is to have female eggs fertilized with male sperm in a laboratory.  The embryos are allowed to grow for a few days and then are frozen for later implantation.   On average, 10 to 20 embryos are produced in each individual case.  They can remain safely frozen for 10 years or longer.  Occasionally, the ownership of the frozen embryos needs to be settled by a court – often involving a divorce.

Interestingly, in terms of frozen embryos, courts have held that the male donor – the father – has potentially equal ownership rights as the female.  Not so when the embryo is in the womb.  Is the old adage “possession is nine-tenths of the law” being applied?

While the issue of IVF-produced embryos has historically not been a hot topic in the public abortion debate, the Alabama Court ruling has opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box on the issue.  Every one of those frozen embryos is an assumedly healthy developing human being.  That is a scientific FACT.  In a pro-life context, they each are imbued with the inalienable rights of personhood and citizenship – most fundamentally, the right to live.  Although the embryo cannot be described as a child.

Most of those 10 to 20 developing human beings held on ice will be destroyed – their lives terminated.  That is not only an unwanted outcome but is anticipated as part of the overall procedure.  How does that differ from abortion based on convenience when the focus is on an embryo in the womb?

If one holds consistent pro-life belief — that protectable life begins at conception — there can only be one answer.  IVF should be banned – with the possible exception of creating only one embryo at a time for the specific purpose of implantation.

The issue creates strange logic.  House Speaker Mike Johnson, a self-proclaimed pro-lifer — said he believes in “… the sanctity of every human life. I always have and because of that I support IVF and its availability.”  His definition of “every human life” apparently does not apply to embryos as developing human beings.  That leaves him with no argument against abortion.  His pro-life position crashes and burns.  He is taking up the pro-abortion position – although I suspect he did not realize the implication of his words.  Same with the Alabama state legislature and the pro-life governor, which have hastily undone the Court’s decision with legislation protecting IVF procedures.

I know that the idea of banning IVF is shocking and outrageous to a nation and a culture that lives with the knowledge that every embryo is a developing human being yet believes that human rights are arbitrarily bestowed by political mandate at some indeterminant time after the existence of the developing human being. 

Fear not, my pro-abortion friends.  I am under no illusion that such a ban will happen in the foreseeable future.  Abortion is as deeply planted in the contemporary — as was slavery at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and human sacrifice was the norm for several ancient civilizations.  I am still optimistic that sometime in the future life will conquer death.

There are two issues that often get interwoven with the topic of abortion.   The first is the freezing of eggs and sperm for later fertilization.  And contraceptive methods, drugs and devices that prevent fertilizations. 

There have been efforts – most often from the religious sector – to ban those practices.  That is utter nonsense.  Prior to fertilization, we do not have a developing human being.  Nature, itself, produces and “wastes” more eggs and sperm than it uses to produce a person.  In fact, education and science should be deployed to do everything possible to encourage contraception in order to reduce the number of abortions by reducing the number of pregnancies.

Abortion is a tough issue because it is based on humanity’s most fundamental and intimate acts and most important functions – procreation.  The pro-life position is based not only on science and logic, but on deeply held moral convictions.  That is why pro-lifers pursue their cause even when it is politically disadvantageous – and will continue to do so.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    The term is pro choice, only a few pro abortion supporters in this country.

    • Dan tyree

      The embryo, so called, is a child at conception. God said so when He stated that he knew people who were in their father’s loins

  2. larry Horist

    Frank Stetson …. . I can understand why folks like you do not want to be fully committed to the procedure. You might be pro-masking or pro-vaxxing without hesitation, but you are not comfortable being totally in favor of abortion. Says a lot.

    • Frank stetson

      Folks like me like me prize accuracy and plain speak over folks like you who brand opponents to demean and denigrate.

      You find me some gung ho abortion lovers claiming they ate pro abortion. One or two tiny medical advocacy nonprofits, no more.

      Like branding you Spanky Horist. It happened but it’s not accurate plain speak and just a demeaning brand. Trump likes to brand people with demeaning derogatory brand names too.

      I told you. I can’t find many, if any people calling themselves as such. It’s just you and your kind and Trump.

      • larry Horist

        Frank Stetson. You are amazing!!! You frequently — and sanctimoniously — claim to abhor insults, name calling and nasty ad hominine attacks and yet YOU are among the most consistent and egregious name callers and personal insulters on PBP. — and not just me. It is your defining trait. You accuse me of branding folks (where is your evidence) in the same response you brand me. And how often do you recraft my name as an insult —and the names of others? It is what you do. LOL

        • Frank stetson

          Which branding do you mean Horist?

          Which names are you referring to?

          You generalize too much. Can you be specific?

        • Mike f

          Larry-You really have no room to talk on the name calling issue. You like to act all high and mighty, but you referred to Frank as an ignoramus a few weeks ago-which is why I have changed my references to you from idiot to ignoramus-obviously you don’t find that term ‘childish’, which was your reaction to calling you an ‘idiot’…

    • Frank stetson

      Pro-masking or pro-vaccination as your return volley. Sweet mother of debate. Resume says you the best. Win awards. Good debate discussion points. .

      Yes, Larry, most often, unlike you I guess, I tend to follow the advice of science and medicine. So, I guess, unlike tou, I am pro-science and pro-medicine in general including masking and vaccinations. Unlike you, no covid yet thank God and medicine.

      And I am pro-Biden whereas you are pro-Trump and will have voted for a digital rapist, business and tax cheat, charity cheat, education scammer three times by this November. So are you pro-rape? Anti-charity, Pro-tax cheat, and so on….

      Then. If you win, you can be pro-insurrection as we pardon all the 1/666-ers making you pro-deplorable too.

      Fun game Larry, thanks . Your turn to advance the discussion in this manner that you created and suits you so well as an award winning debater.

      Sigh. .

  3. Andrew Gutterman

    When my son was in my previous paranoid schizophrenic wife’s womb, her Baptist medical doctor father told me she should get an abortion, as neither my wife nor me would be able to raise him under the circumstances we were in. My wife could not really make the decision, so I did. No abortion. He was correct with respect to raising him, we gave him up in an open adoption, only the third such in Massachusetts in the early 80’s. He now lives in Virginia, same city as me. The previous marriage lasted 7 years….

    That said, I’m 100% pro-choice. This decision should never be left up to the STATE.

    I was under the impression we live in a free country. Not so in Texas, Utah and similar states. There you are owned by the STATE.

    • larry Horist

      Andrew Gutterman … What you describe is a very dysfunctional situation — mentally disturbed wife (as you say) and no ability to raise a child. A divorce. But you allowed him to live. Do you regret your decision to nix the abortion? And do you have a relationship with him since you know where he lives? I can pity what you went through, but I cannot understand why that would make you pro-choice — as you put it. And you claim to be owned by the state is hyperbolic, to say the least. I hope I am wrong, but come across as a very bitter man.

  4. frank stetson

    Very brave Andrew, thank you. Moving.

    Republicans keep moving the line telling us to take it easy, there will always be options and alternatives available and they have the support for all these new lives, many born into poverty. Because there is no difference to the wealthy, they have little issues with this. It’s the poor that might have difficulties coming up with the scratch to get 1,600 miles away to be free to choose their own destiny rather than be a slave to Horist and company. And after they tell us it’s OK, more bans come….. We heard you say, don’t worry, there will always be States convenient to you and your needs for freedom of choice. Liberty to choose and chart your own path. To have free will as your God intended. Nope, our freedoms are already dwindling and becoming remote for the deep South. At current abortion rights are protected by state law in 21 states and DC and these rights are limited or prohibited in 26 states, some with criminality attached. AL, AR, ID, KY, LO, MS, MO, ND, SD, OK, TN, TX and I won’t go on. Texas even allows vigilantes to sue anyone who they turn in for transgressing. Arkansas wants to pass a law to create an abortion register. God knows what these pricks want to do with that information. It’s half the country with time limits of 6 to 15 weeks. It’s tough stuff if you have a rape or incest baby in the South.

    And now you want the eggs and tell us, don’t worry. All IVF eggs are humans. What’s next, force every woman to deliver every egg? Soon you will want contraceptives and then what? Life starts at the wink of an eye and a little wine? Just put em in stalls and start the breeding?

    You say it’s all OK as you keep moving the line. Idaho set the newest standard with the April 6, 2023 ban version making it illegal to help a minor cross state lines without parental consent. Now being a pregnant prisoner in your own state is the new line. And where will you draw the line next?

    And then there’s the promised extra support: nada. You lied about that too. NPR details the tragedy unfolding: **

    You say “I am under no illusion that such a ban will happen in the foreseeable future. Abortion is as deeply planted in the contemporary — as was slavery at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and human sacrifice was the norm for several ancient civilizations. I am still optimistic that sometime in the future life will conquer death” so the line is on the move and you want to push it as far as you can. And then some.

    It’s not OK, it’s a choice and I, like Joe Biden, am pro-choice. Donald Trump is pro rape (he did it, he does not have remorse), pro rape babies, pro incest babies, and no support. There’s no grey area here. It’s crystal clear.

    And then, once again, after my request to cease and desist: “Fear not, my pro-abortion friends.” You have no pro-abortion friends in that there are very, very few, folks who are pro-abortion. It’s a brand you made up to denigrate. Well, baby breeder, stop it. Look you rape baby advocate, we are pro-choice by words and actions. None of your friends will stand up and say “I’m pro-abortion, bring it on.” And you sir, are pro-slavery desiring to breed women as you see fit, rape em for babies, incestual babies you support cause inbreeding is better than breeding, right? Nope, both are awful abortions of God’s will that we not rape, not have incest. It and it’s fruits are wrong. According to your moral judgments, as if you are God to determine a woman’s fate as you see fit. Get the fuck out of our bodies and we will choose according to our moral code, our God.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … As usual, you lie about my position to create your counterpoint. That is your straw man, your imaginary Larry Horist you choose to refute. I accept the three basic exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother, contrary to your statement. So when you claim that I would have woman carry those pregnancies, you are lying You suggest I will soon go after contraception. A blatant lie since I strongly opposed that in the commentary you are supposed to have read and comprehended. Not sure where your failure occurred .. or was it just a willful lie? Even you cannot deny that every fertilized egg is a developing human. Well … maybe you can. And of course you ignore science and logic to pretend that the only person who is a stakeholder is the the mother … not the developing human or the father. That is great fiction for the political narrative, but again does not comport to science and common sense. And what is the opposite of anti-abortion … oh yeah, pro-abortion. Maybe you should ask yourself why that term makes you soooo uncomfortable.

      • frank stetson

        My bad. Sometimes I thiink of you as a Republican….. I oops your stand on abortion exceptions. Fact is Republicans have rape abortion bans, incest abortion bans in 14 states and over 50 million women are in those states. I guess you’re not THAT MUCH agasint it….. Coming soon to FL if not already there.

        Matter of fact, according to The Hill: “A study published this week estimated nearly 65,000 pregnancies associated with rape occurred in the 14 states that have enacted abortion bans since the Dobbs decision in 2022.” Texas has a third of them. Texas also has a 10% increase in infant mortalities, go figure. Guess you can be pro-life and pro-death at the same time in Texas. In Texas, you have to cross the state to NM or CO if you want to exercise your pro-choice rights. That’s an 8-hour drive. From Orlando, it’s 1,600 miles or 24 hour drive….. And if you are in Horist’s neighborhodd, fuhgit about it, you gotta fly. In January, FL brought the rape and incest abortion ban law to be voted on in the 2024 election; they say they have the signatures to get in on the ballot moving the line once again in Larry’s neighborhood.

        The bans tend to favor inbreeding, something you wouldn’t even do you’re your dog, your cow, whatever. Incest babies are harder to track, would you admit it? Even wonder how Republican seem to link rape and incest. I mean there are no states with bans on one and not the other. Weird.

        Childhood death can double with inbreeding, not to mention all those nasty little genetic disorders. If there are 65,000 rape babies out there, you got to figure tens of thousands of incest babies. Sweeeeet life living with your father who is your grandfather too. Could be President someday if no one finds out…….

        Spanky Horist: no, pro-abortion does not make me any more uncomfortable that any other of your fake branding for effect. Do any of your pro-abortion friends call themselves pro-abortion? You never answered that one, or much of anything…. Is there a pro-abortion 529? Pro-abortion organization?

        As to the rest of your gibberish about the mythical Horist, etc. nothng to say to those fact-less musings. It’s just your diversion to avoid a congent reponse on the facts and focus on Frank Stetson, most certainly a mythical made-up person. It’s what you do, he said paraphrasing the Captain in Serenity…….

  5. Mike f

    Larry, Describing yourself as pro-life is a misnomer-you are anti-abortion, and I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. I believe that the vast majority of women are intelligent enough to decide (with the advice of their doctor) when or if they should have an abortion. As an anti-abortion person, you believe that the average woman is too stupid to make that decision, so you believe that government should make it for them. The embryo argument is just further stupidity on the conservative side-a clear result of electing stupid people with no logical thinking capability. Now if you were truly ‘pro-life’ you (and other conservatives) might want to do something benefiting those already born, but of course gun control is not up for discussion by your elected officials (due to adversely affecting gun sales). Of course I have strayed slightly off topic-but only to point out the inconsistency of conservative opinion-wanting big government to take the decision making ability from the people, while refusing to do anything that would actually aid the living-its all emotionally based decisions rather than logic. So there tis…

    • larry Horist

      Mike f … Not a misnomer at all. I am pro-life AND I am anti-abortion. Just as you are pro-choice and pro- abortion. Pro-life and pro-choice are basically political euphemisms. Anti-abortion and pro-abortion are the factual descriptions. You make it clear that you see the issue relative to only the woman and her desire. I take into consideration the father and the developing human being. The developing human being and the father are stakeholders. We often hear that an abortion is a decision to be made only by woman and her doctors. In fact, the vast majority of abortions are not recommended by doctors as a necessary health measure, since both the developing human and the mother are in perfectly good health at the time of the abortion. It is abortion on DEMAND, not NEED. And I do not consider women too stupid to know what to do. I just do not believe the decision is the woman’s along. And actually, conservatives are very interested in the wellbeing of new borns and that is why conservatives adopt more than liberals. Conservatives support charities more than liberals do. But you are correct. You got off the point. The existential question that abortion advocates fail to answer …When in the maturation period does the developing human in the womb get the full civil rights of a person}Abortion advocates are all over the map on the question — and that means they cannot provide a definitive answer. Imagine … terminating a life of a developing human being without addressing the question of whether it is merely a medical procedure of or a medical homicide. So, Mike, when is the life in the womb bestowed with human rights?

      • Mike f

        Larry, you love to hurl insults around don’t you-signs of your lack of intellect-you pay no attention to what your commenters actually say, just spin some ignorant comments that sound good to the majority of the fools who read windbag post. I am not ‘pro-abortion’ as you stated above, but I do believe that every case is different when it comes to abortion, and I give women credit for making the best decision possible when contemplating an abortion scenario. You don’t believe a woman has enough intellect to make such a decision-which in my book makes you anti-abortion (and an asshole). You claim to be in favor of standard exceptions-but the simple truth is that the states that have gone anti-abortion have been unable to write those exceptions into their laws, so women are forced to leave their red state, if they can afford to, if they require an abortion. You have made your decision on abortion based on emotions-unfortunately facts and logic never come into your decision making process..