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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Must Frozen Embryos Be Counted as “Children” on Census Forms, Tax Returns, and Healthcare Policies?

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on February 23, 2024

IMAGE: Embryo freezing for in vitro fertilization.

An Editorial Opinion


Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is a principle from philosophy.  Suppose an event has two possible explanations.  The explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. 

With this in mind, I offer this explanation for last Friday’s seemingly bizarre Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared frozen embryos to be “extrauterine children.”  The Court's ruling is the talk of the nation.


That’s right, frozen embryos in a laboratory are now “living children.” Amazingly, we don't have to wait for a heartbeat anymore to be declared a "living" person.

The Court’s ruling, which was decided on an 8-1 vote, caused an immediate pause on in vitro fertilization treatments (IVF) throughout Alabama. 


Far Reaching Consequences of the Court’s Ruling


Do the newly recognized “children” have to be counted on federal Census forms?  Of course they do, particularly if the embryos are still frozen when the Census is taken.  These “children” are judicially deemed to be living people, too.    


Modern science enables doctors and parents to know the race and sex of each frozen embryo.  This information would be logged into government records.


Parents would be responsible for reporting the existence of these “children” to Census takers. 

They would also be entitled to claim these “children” as dependents on their federal and state tax returns. 

Of course, nearly all of the medical expenses associated with creating and maintaining these “children” in their frozen state would be tax deductible.


Healthcare insurers would have to cover their fair share of these medical expenses, as well.

I guess the parents of these frozen "children" should go ahead and name each embryo like they do with their birthed children.


Was there an Impermissible Motive Behind the Court’s Ruling?


According to HRC Fertility, 91.5% of the women who are freezing their embryos/children are White.  African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics accounted for 4%, 3%, and 1.5% of this patient population, respectively.   As such, the frozen embryos are overwhelmingly White “children.”


Those of us who are intimately familiar with Alabama's long, ugly and well-documented history of White racism (as confirmed by the ultra-conservative, right-wing U.S. Supreme Court on June 8, 2023 in the case of Allen v. Milligan) must wonder aloud whether the all-White, all-Republican, nine-member Alabama Supreme Court (in a state that is 27% Black), crafted this ruling as a vehicle to increase the state’s declining White population. 

IMAGE: Alabama Supreme Court.

The Alabama Supreme Court is led by Confederate flag-waving Chief Justice Tom Parker. Mr. Parker wrote a special concurring opinion to last week's ruling.

IMAGE: Confederate flag-waving Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker (center)

The Supreme Court Justice who wrote the majority opinion for the Court -- Jay Mitchell -- is the same Justice who railed against new bar exams last year that he claimed promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion. This guy is regressive and plain awful.

If the Court's ruling stands, other Republican-controlled supreme courts across the nation are expected to follow Alabama’s lead.


We must put the Court’s ruling in its proper perspective.  This ruling did not occur in a vacuum.

I view the Court’s ruling as a tool to judicially boost the declining number of Whites in the state’s population by declaring frozen embryos to be "children." 


In 2016, for the first time in U.S. history, there were more white deaths than births in the United States, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.  Since that time, Alabama’s Republican-controlled government bodies and entities have taken extreme measures to slow or stop the decline of the state’s White population

Just so you know, Alabama's White population declined by 33,000 between the 2010 and 2020 Censuses.

As of February 16, 2024, all frozen embryos in Alabama became “children” by judicial edict. Declaring frozen embryos to be “children" is an attempt by the Alabama Supreme Court to address the continuous decline in the state's White population.   


In 2023,  the number of frozen embryos in storage nationwide was estimated at 1.5 million by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health.   The number of frozen embryos located in Alabama is estimated at 30,000.

Because of the Court's ruling, these frozen embryos cannot be destroyed, discarded, misplaced, or lost for any reason without exposing the parents (and their IVF physicians) to serious civil liability and criminal jeopardy. For all practical purposes, the Court is treating these frozen embryos like living persons who enjoy the full protection of Alabama's civil and criminal laws.


In a God-like manner, the Alabama Supreme Court just created tens of thousands of new “living [White] children” overnight. 

Wrapping himself in the Bible, Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote: “Even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.” Of course, Parker is talking about White children. Parker believes that (a) White children are made in the "image of God" and (b) they will get to wave one of the pocket-size Confederate flags he hands out freely when they become toddlers.

Well, if this isn’t a modern-day blend of Biblical and Deep South Confederate creationism by a wacko state supreme court, I don’t know what is.


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Theo Owen
Theo Owen
a day ago
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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Brandy Moore
Brandy Moore
Feb 23
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

There should be more black women who protect their embryos too. Instead of choosing abortion, every black female should freeze their eggs until they too want to release the child from the freezer. Not all agendas are racist. Some agendas aren't opposed correctly. A rabbit and a turtle storyline revisited.

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