Our two-fold task

Published February 28, 2024

WORLD Opinions

Whatever policies result in the aftermath of the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision that effectively granted frozen embryos the legal status as other children, here is one sure reality: Pro-life Americans have been caught largely flat-footed by the decision, unaware of the deep moral complexities tied to in vitro fertilization. Not only are many flat-footed, but many have also found themselves supporting IVF. After all, how could it be anything other than pro-life to encourage the presence of children in the lives of infertile couples?

Nowhere has this confusion and vacillation been more evident than among ostensible pro-life quarters like the Republican Party. In the aftermath of the decision, consultants and politicians alike have rushed to distance Republicans from the Alabama court’s decision. You cannot blame the politicians when they go where public sentiment is. But that requires the ethics response to play double time in the need to speak clearly, boldly, and compassionately. Blame falls in many directions, not least upon the failure of the evangelical church to disciple its people and the politicians who sit in their pews. Evangelicalism’s largely blasé approach to IVF is an indictment on how our bedrock belief about Scripture’s sufficiency is practically undermined when some believers demand chapter and verse explicitly prohibiting a given practice.

The fact remains that opposition to IVF comes largely, if not exclusively, from socially conservative Christian intellectuals and institutions that have studied the issue for years and have sought—with little apparent success—to draw attention to IVF’s problems. Providence now affords us the ability to shed light on this topic. But allow me to suggest: How we go about the educational process surrounding IVF will be just as important as what we teach.

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EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

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