NRL News

Surprised by this from Obama Administration?

by | Mar 6, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

A  show of hands. How many pro-lifers are surprised that (according to the Washington Times) “The Department of Health and Human Services ‘is not requesting funds for this program’ because ‘the Embryo Adoption program will be discontinued in FY2013.’” I thought so: none.

“Embryo adoptions” refers a situation where a woman has successfully undergone IVF. Often times the embryos who have not been implanted are frozen. The decision is made that rather than cavalierly throw them away or allow these tiny humans to be experimented on, to allow another couple to adopt the human embryo.

Wetzstein reports that HHS cites “limited interest” as a reason it is purposing to end the $1.9 million embryo-adoption awareness program. Those involved disagree.

“I think that daily we talk to people about … embryo donation and adoption, and we hear the response, ‘Really? I didn’t know that was even possible,'” said Ron Stoddart, executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which in 1997 pioneered the process of infertile couples “adopting” the extra embryos that another couple’s in-vitro fertilization process inevitably produces.

Moreover, just because the program doesn’t get a lot of publicity doesn’t mean it hasn’t been working. In the Washington Times Sunday, reporter Cheryl Wetzstein writes, “Between 2004 and 2009 alone, about 1,900 infants were born from the adoption process in the U.S., said Dr. Reg Finger, director of the Embryo Donation Services Center, which also was created with federal grant funding.”

But the budgetary process is just beginning. “The fate of the embryo-adoption awareness program is not known” according to Wetzstein. “As with all White House budget requests, congressional appropriations committees will decide whether they become law.”

Ms. Wetzstein ends her story with reasons why the awareness program should be maintained:

“Mr. Stoddart, whose organization uses federal funds to run, said there are several reasons to continue the funding.

“The number of human embryos in storage is still increasing, as are the number of babies born from embryo adoption, he said, noting that his agency’s own Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program is expecting its 300th child to be born March 30.

“The number of adoption agencies opening embryo-adoption programs also is increasing, said Mr. Stoddart. ‘So those three factors would clearly indicate to me, and I think, any objective observer, that there’s an increasing interest in embryo donation and adoption.’

“But, except for the federal program, ‘there is no other source of funding for an awareness campaign,’ he said.”

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