Limbo was defined as the pious speculation of a place where babies who have died without baptism spend eternity in a state of “natural happiness” but not in the presence of God. Pope Benedict XVI recently said that there’s hope that God grants salvation to unbaptized babies.
But now man in his attempt to make himself godlike has now created limbo; a place where human beings are kept frozen in perpetuity…or as long as the bill gets paid.
And there’s really no way out until the world begins realizing that there are no “extra” humans. Case in point. Take this ruling in Ireland:
The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal by a separated mother of two against the High Court’s refusal to order a Dublin clinic to release three frozen embryos to her with a view to becoming pregnant against the wishes of her estranged husband.
The five judge court found the embryos are not the “unborn” within the meaning of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution (the anti-abortion amendment of 1983) and therefore not entitled to Constitutional protection. The “unborn” referred to a child within the womb and not pre-implanation embryos, the judges ruled.
They also found there was no enforceable contract between the woman and her estranged husband entitling her to use the embryos.
So these human beings are now, by court decree, untouchable in perpetuity. By court ruling, they will exist in some modern man-made legal limbo.
And the main reason the court ruled this way was that if those un-implanted embryos were deemed worthy of rights, this would logically lead to the banning of some forms of contraception that don’t necessarily prevent fertilization but prevent implantation. And that would be very unpopular as contraception is seen as the great liberator of women worldwide and as the great rampart against overpopulation -which many believe to be the biggest issue of the day.
It’s kind of a backward working logic in that the court is saying the embryos can’t be human because that would be inconvenient to our way of life. Why not accept the obvious and moderate your life to fit reality?
And people know that there’s something wrong with this man-made limbo. CNN had a story on these frozen-in-perpetuity babies earlier this year:
By the time she was in her 40s, Andrea Cinnamond was afraid she’d never be a mother. Then came the day in 2005 her daughter was born through in vitro fertilization, followed two years later by twin sons. Today, Kaitlin, Jack, and Aidan bounce around like Ping-Pong balls through their Boston, Massachusetts, home.
Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics across the country.
Cinnamond, now 49, and her husband are grateful for their healthy children and the medical science that helped create them. Yet she’s haunted by the three embryos that were left over.
Like many women struggling with infertility, Cinnamond was delighted when a laboratory took sperm and egg and provided five chances for a second child after Kaitlin’s birth. In many ways, infertility is a numbers game — more embryos created means more tries for success. She was asked in the beginning about the matter of surplus embryos, but how could she think about those she might not want when her thoughts were consumed by the children she longed for?
When the time came to decide about the extras, she says, “I thought I was going to be calm and casual.” And she was, until the first bill arrived to keep the embryos frozen. “I was petrified,” she says. “There was no practical reason to keep them. I just wasn’t ready to make the decision not to keep them.” She paid the $600, hoping that her thoughts would crystallize as time passed. This year, she’s paying the bill again.
Michelle DeCrane of Austin, Texas, has also been paying for embryo storage for two years. She has a 2-year-old daughter — and six frozen embryos. “I would love to have another baby, if I were younger — I’m 40 — and if money was not an object.” She finds herself trapped in a mental loop; while she doesn’t have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter, neither does she consider them anonymous laboratory tissue. And there’s another wrinkle: One of the six embryos is biologically hers and her husband’s; the five others were created with donor eggs and his sperm. “What do people do?” she asks. “You have all of these embryos in all of these labs. Are people going to keep doing what I’m doing and pay the $40 a month ad infinitum?”
Some will. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics throughout the country, some awaiting transfer but many literally frozen in time as parents ask themselves questions few among us ever consider with such immediacy: When does life begin? What does “life” mean, anyway?
Isn’t it ironic? With science racing forward in its search for answers, we feign ignorance on the most basic questions. We pretend to remain perplexed. Indecisive. In limbo.