120 hour party people
Hey! Day 5 embryos stored somewhere in Minneapolis! Happy You Day! Whooooo! I made you some festive party hats. Here they are!
So clap 'em on and let's celebrate. Let's get this party star-teddddd!
Wait, you hadn't heard? Well! I guess they don't have the Internet in your cryopreservation tank, although I did think I'd checked that box on the form...but no matter. I'm thrilled to be the one to tell you, then. Outgoing president George W. Bush — whose approval rating according to Fox News stands at a towering 34%, which, I mean, damn, that's Fox News, y'all — has decreed that Sunday, January 18 is National Sanctity of Human Life Day. (Quite an astonishing coincidence that it falls so close to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.)
"I call upon all Americans," declares President Pew Pegs You at 24, "to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being."
Appropriate ceremonies! I don't know about you, but to me, that means presents! Look! I made you a stripey blanket.
You know, for if you get cold.
In case you've been living under a rock (or if you were distracted by being bathed in a highly osmotic cryoprotectant fluid, sluiced into a glass straw, and slid into a temperature-controlled storage tank seething with liquid nitrogen, and, I mean, my God, who wouldn't be, although you really should pick up a newspaper now and then), you should know this is nothing new. Reagan started it; Bush continued it; Clinton ignored it; and President New York Times Says 22 picked it back up. This year he's proclaimed that "all human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection."
Now, he's obviously talking about abortion. No doubt about that when his proclamation showcases his anti-choice efforts. But I think he probably means you, too, when he says that "our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world."
Congratulations! You've been upgraded! You're no longer merely a microscopic wad of cells, potential human life. You're a person waiting to be born.
NOISEMAKERS! I brought noisemakers!
Two of you are cool with sharing, right?
Anyway, I'm assuming Bush is talking about embryonic stem cell research, and therefore cryopreserved embryos, as well as abortion. After all, his opposition led him to veto federal funding for such research not once but twice, even while almost 70% of Americans polled declared their support for it. "Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical," he said. (Which rather begs the question, hmmm? Hey, those hats look better if you wear them at a rakish angle.)
And if I were a better mother — a better mother of five, if we count you along with the two fully realized human beings I currently have the honor of raising — I might be nodding as I read his words. Agreeing that sacrificing your potential for someone else's actual would be the depths of immorality. Agreeing, in fact, that you yourself are actual. Signing on with fervor to his expressed "dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us." (Perhaps the president knows something I don't. Has your tank been moved to Whoville?)
I didn't know, before I had Ben, whether knowing him would change my stance. It's one thing to take a relatively unsentimental position when one has nothing at stake — i.e., no embryos at issue. But is it another thing altogether, I wondered, when there's living, cereal-smeared proof of what those could become?
But no. I'm still where I started. Undecided on what we'll do with our own personal peoplewaitingtobebornbryos, but not at all ruling out research. I love children, and I love even more for people who want them to have them. But even given these facts, even with three in the freezer and one from their batch in the high chair, I will not deny that your "special place and purpose in this world" might well end up being under a glass cover slip. Rock on with your pluripotent selves.
Here I am instead, having happily paid your quarterly rent, feeling grateful that mere days remain of this disastrous presidency, relieved that President-elect Obama has pledged to lift the restrictions Bush twice refused to change. And that is what I'm celebrating. You are sacred — not only in the way Bush insists, not only because you could one day become someone's children, but also because you might help save someone's life one day. A life indeed worthy of protection. Or advance a cure for Alzheimer's. Diabetes. Cancer. Sure. Why not? You could be destined for greatness. A quiet collective greatness.
Maybe now we'll find out. And if that's not worth a party, what is?