In-vitro fertilisation – the High Court case

What do you make of this embryo thing in the High Court? Hmm?

What the hell do you make of it?

Isn’t that the strangest thing you ever heard?

The facts seem to be as follows: a husband and wife wanted to have a child, and went for in-vitro fertilisation. They duly produced a child. After the procedure, some embryos were left over, and were frozen. The couple subsequently separated, and the woman, who now has a new man, wishes to have the remaining embryos implanted in order to have another child. The woman asserts that the embryos are children and have a right to life under the constitution. The woman further asserts that the husband must take full responsibility for these children, even though there are no children yet, he doesn’t want to have any and she lives with a different man now. Not surprisingly, the husband objects on the grounds that he does not wish to be the father of another child.

This is ludicrous. The guy went all of the road and a bit more to make sure that his partner got a child. I don’t know what the circumstances of the break-up were, so soon after the success of the procedure, but it does seem odd, and it seems even stranger that the woman is now pushing him so hard. I know I’m biased, being a man, but come on: this is decidedly strange. No?

The husband certainly signed a declaration to the effect that he would take full responsibility for any children resulting from the procedure, but it isn’t clear what exactly he agreed to. Did he sign something, as we all do in from time to time, without reading the small print? Perhaps. I don’t know. Did he sign something in relation to a procedure that might, with any luck, produce a child? More likely. Did he sign something, believing that it applied to every medical procedure his wife might undergo for the rest of his natural life? Probably not.

The woman asks the court to declare that these frozen embryos are children and have a constitutional right to life. Now, I’m biased about this: I thought the “pro-life” position in the debate was hypocritical horse-shit.  Just so you know where I stand on the issue. But let’s look at the embryos. It seems that the wife thinks these embryos are children. They are the children of the union, apparently. The embryos.

Come on. If I reach into my pocket, pull out some frog-spawn and say to you hey there, great to see you, look buddy, here’s my kid, say hello to Dermot and there’s a pile of slime swimming around on my palm, well you’re going to look at me funny, aren’t you? Have a look at the picture here. This what we’re talking about in the present case, and the argument is that this has the potential to become human life. That’s right. It does have that potential. About the same potential of producing human life as a dozen tequila slammers has.

Dermot the Embryo
Satan’s terrier ran through the greenhouse yesterday, the fucker, and made shit of my seed-trays which I had so carefully defended against the hot weather. Bastard terrier. Bastard. But anyway, today I was in B&Q for some other reason, and I picked up a few packs of seeds. Now, I don’t think these packs contain plants. They don’t. They contain fertilised seeds that might eventually become plants, provided I supply all the necessary nutrients and growing conditions, and if I don’t there will be no plants. Just a pack of fertilised seeds. Just like embryos. In fact, what I bought was a pack of embryos, and they won’t become plants until I take the next step: implanting them.

You see, in this country we have the most spineless governments that ever existed, probably as a result of years of priests and nuns haranguing us about their obsessions, the fucked-up obsessional bastards. And our successive spineless governments have never tried to define in law the term “the unborn”, with the result that we have these insane court cases, one after another. And so, therefore, it falls to Bock to define the term “the unborn”, which I’m happy to do in the public interest.

Here we go. The term “the unborn” means anything which is not born.

Toasters are not born. Neither are fish-knives, tricycles, electric guitars, melon-ballers or copies of the Koran. My work-trousers are not born, and neither are my torn tackies. Bread puddings, guillotines, dog-turds, Bundoran, a cloud, quietness, the letter “M”: all unborn, and therefore, it seems to me, all entitled to be protected by the constitution and have their right to life vindicated.

What a wonderful country Ireland is, and it can be only a matter of time before we pass another constitutional amendment vindicating the right to life of the undead. Haughey might be all right yet.

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UPdate

Supreme Court Decision 2009

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