In Vitro Fertilization

Years ago, I met Doctor Bob Tamis, a physician who perform

ed abortions up to 22 weeks in Phoenix, Arizona.  Interestingly, he also had an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) facility in the same building for couples who were having trouble conceiving a baby.  Indeed, as far as I knew, he was the only doctor in the country who performed both seemingly contradictory services.

Like many clinics in those days, his was the subject of some very intense anti-abortion protest activity.  On Saturday mornings, as he entered the clinic, it was not unusual for Doctor Tamis to be greeted by 50-100 screaming, placard waiving, anti-abortion protestors who commonly referred to him as “Doctor Death.”  But, for years, I often wondered what that scene might have been like for Bruce and Sue, a young couple that was seeing Doctor Tamis to conceive a baby, not abort one…

(Cue the going back in time sequence music)

The protestor, a 71 year old former Marine who has been at the clinic every Saturday for years, watches intently as the young couple parks their car and approaches the clinic.  Much like his response years ago when he caught a glimpse of the Viet Cong through his sniper scope, he senses red meat and can’t wait for his ambush.  Suddenly, he screams at the top of his lungs:  “Don’t Kill Your Baby!  For the love of God, don’t kill your baby!  In a few months, you could give birth to a beautiful little girl.  Don’t you want to watch her grow up?  Don’t you want to be grandparents one day?”

Instead of ignoring him, Bruce releases the hand of his wife and rushes towards the Marine.

“You’re an idiot!  We are not here for an abortion, you old fool.  Not that it is any of your business but we’re coming here for our in vitro fertilization treatments!  We’re trying to have a baby!”

The old man looks at him quizzically and asks “You’re fertilizing what vito?”

Bruce can only laugh at the ignorance.  Then, another protestor comes over.

“It doesn’t matter, young man.  What you are doing is still against God’s law!”

“Wait a second.  I thought you folks wanted everyone to have babies, that you wanted us to populate the Earth ten times over?”

“You are a sinner,” screams the protestor.  “You both will burn in hell!”

“Huh???”  Bruce is trying to figure out what he is missing here.

“Well, young fella, let me read you something from our Church pamphlet.  It says her that ‘techniques involving only the married couple, like homologous artificial insemination and fertilization, dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.’”

Bruce has to hold back the laughter.  “Well, that sure clarifies things!  But, wait.  You’re out here all the time, screaming at women because you want them to keep their babies, right?  But my wife and I cannot conceive a child, we want to have a baby and we’re here to start that process.  Ain’t that good enough for you?”

“Well, no.  It’s God’s law.  The Gospel says that spouses who still suffer from infertility should unite themselves with the Lord’s Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.”

Bruce’s head is ready to implode.  He can’t believe he is even part of this surreal conversation.

“And another thing,” says the protestor, “did you know that many of the embryos dies in the transfer process, are stored in freezers or are killed and washed down the sink?”

“Yep, the doctor told us that could happen.  And your point is what?”

“Well, you’re killing babies!”

“But, but, don’t you get it?  We’re trying to make a baby!  Doesn’t that make you happy?”

“Well, no, because you two aren’t doing it the right way…..”

And around and around it goes.

Does the Catholic Church want to tell us how to take a crap also?

Debate

I’ve been so tempted to wait until tomorrow to post another (award-winning blog) that ultimately turns out to be a cruel April Fool’s joke but I cannot wait – I must opine!

According to the statistics, more and more people are reading this blog. That’s pretty cool. Still, it seems that there are only a handful of people who actually then step up to comment on my thoughts or stories. I don’t know what that means. I frankly wish there were hundreds of comments to my posts but I’m told that people generally are just too shy or too intimidated to chime in.

As the moderator of the threads, I try to be as objective as possible. Although I am firmly pro-choice, I have expressed certain concerns, reservations, etc. about the world of abortion. I am also not shy about complaining about the pro-choice organizations. I think I am blunt to a fault. Indeed, when I was a “public figure” in the abortion rights movement that bluntness got me into trouble on a nunber of occasions.

Since I am available and blunt, I am curious why we don’t have more in-depth conversations about the actual abortion process. Whenever the opportunity has arisen, I have candidly talked about how abortions are performed and in what venue.  I have made a number of rather interesting admissions on this blog and am anxious to answer anything else.  But it just seems to me that the “debate” on our threads often degenerates into a series of nanny-nanny poo-poo comments or a game of “gotcha” designed to try to embarrass the other side. Indeed, I have been caught up in this silliness at times myself.

So, someone says she works at a crisis pregnancy center and some pro-choicers immediately respond by saying ALL cpcs are deceitful, that they intimidate women, that – and here’s the big leap – they condone anti-abortion terrorism. People just sit in front of their computers and attack, attack, attack, barraging the opposition with persistent, inane questions or comments. Then, the pro-lifer comes back and attacks, attacks, attacks. I share my truly confusing feelings about former Senator Bob Packwood and pro-lifers see an opportunity to point out some hypocrisy on my part. Well, they’re absolutely right – at times I am a hypocrite. I guess that’s because I just don’t always have the answers. So, sometimes I just don’t know what the hell to say. Sue me!

In another part of my life, I run a Facebook page that poses the “political question of the day.” I ask what people think about Libya, taxes, legalizing marijuana, etc. And 99 percent of the time, people just reply with a monosyllabic answer. It’s

Questions and Answers

“yes” or “no” to them – that’s it. They are just so right and the others are just so wrong. It is very, very rare when someone comes back and asks a follow up question to try to formulate a more educated position. No, we’re just locked in, our feet are stuck in the ground, no one is gonna call me a wimp or, worse, a flip-flopper.

So it is that some pro-lifers will just continue standing outside an abortion clinic, yelling through a bullhorn at women entering the facility. As far as they are concerned, those women are about to murder their babies and it’s their mission to stop them if possible. It’s their way or the highway. I’m right and they are wrong. This dynamic is reflected throughout our society in so many venues. It is particularly evident in the Halls of Congress where absolutely nothing gets done because you’re either right or wrong and I don’t wanna hear what you have to say.

So, I wanna say that I welcome the participation of folks like “Mary” and “Rogie” to our threads. I have appreciated their willingness to opine and to listen. Sure they (and we) can all get a little testy but it is my hope that we can continue having a true dialogue and get away from the dueling invectives. My hope is that we can try to at least understand our opposition and base our positions on agreed-upon facts (not the “facts” spewed out by our national organizations that only benefit from the continuing abortion “war”).

To that end, I stand ready to answer any question as best as I can about why I am pro-choice and what I know about the abortion process that is experienced by over one million women each year.