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'Created by Him to reflect His likeness': Alabama judge quotes Bible in embryo lawsuit ruling

by Will Hobbs
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A Chief Justice in the US has quoted the Bible in a ruling in favour of IVF patients whose frozen embryos were destroyed in December 2020, when a patient removed them from a cryogenic storage unit and dropped them on the ground.

Alabama's Supreme Court has determined that frozen embryos should be regarded as children, affording them equal protections under state law.

The decision received approval from six judges in the state's highest court, with Chief Justice Tom Parker citing the Bible to emphasize the preservation of 'the sanctity of unborn life.'

Chief Justice Parker wrote, "Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.

“We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness. It is as if the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I sanctified you.’ Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV 1982)”.

Even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory."

Critics, such as Kelly Baden, Vice President for Public Policy at the Guttmacher Institute, voiced concerns over the ruling.

Baden highlighted that the decision raises worries about the potential influence of a judge's religious beliefs on what she termed a 'deeply personal decision.'

She also noted that the broader impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade is evident in judges extending restrictions beyond abortion.

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion and deemed state abortion bans unconstitutional, occurred last year.

The pivotal moment came with the majority vote in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on June 24, 2022. This ruling stated that there was no constitutional protection for abortion.

Since then, 21 states have implemented bans or restrictions on abortion access.

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