DEC
2019
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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 11.12.11
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

About the fetus/person issue

The people of Mississippi -- those who voted -- rejected the ballot measure that would define a legal person as existing from the moment of conception. The "No" votes were 55 percent of those cast and the turnout was considered high, about 55 percent.

Mr. Benjamin Iwai wrote in to the Economist magazine this week and indicated that if the measure passed, he and his wife were moving to Mississippi.

They are planning to have a child by in vitro fertilization and they are planning to take home and keep all the fertilized embryos in a freezer. Of course they would have a back-up generator to insure the survival of the embryos in a power failure.

He also indicated that they would claim tax deductions for all the embryos.

I guess they will not be moving to Mississippi.

However, his letter illustrates a real issue. Mr. Iwai and his wife could have a lot of frozen embryos. In the in vitro procedure typically 10 to 30 eggs are taken from the woman for potential fertilization. If each of these embryos is a "person" then the tax deduction for twenty or whatever dependents follows logically.

It also follows that they could be charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide if there was a power failure and the back-up generator failed.

Then there is the issue of what happens when Mr. and Mrs. Iwai die; who inherits the embryos? Does that imply ownership? Ownership of persons sounds a lot like slavery. Well maybe nobody will inherit the embryos and because they are persons they become wards of the state.

Given that the US is a nation of laws, a law such as proposed in Mississippi would lead to many prosecutions, lawsuits, and bureaucracy. Also, to many questions. Big Brother is watching you, from conception on.

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