MSNBC: Embryos Are Embryos, Not ‘A Living Creature,’ But Help People Become Parents

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MSNBC medical contributor and former Obama White House policy director Kavita Patel joined Jose Diaz-Balart Reports guest host Yasmin Vossoughian on Tuesday to react to an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declares frozen embryos to be people. Patel was not happy, unknowingly arguing that embryos are not people because they are embryos but also enable people to become parents.

The tautological Patel claimed, “So, I do think that you’re raising a good issue in how we think about, kind of, the future of embryos, but, by the way, that’s not a new conversation and that’s one that should not get confused with what’s at issue here. They are defining an extra-uterine embryo as a living creature and that’s just simply not the fact. They’re embryos. 

A declaration that an embryo is an embryo is the kind of expert analysis one comes to expect from MSNBC. Meanwhile, the embryonic stage of biological development is just one of many stages one goes through during life. The NIH website defines an embryo as the “early stage in the development of humans and other animals or plants.”

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Vossoughian then wondered, “What is the likelihood this is going to spread to other, more conservative states? And then also, how it’s going to affect health care workers.”

It is fair to ask if Patel is changing the definition of an embryo to justify a political position on abortion because, in her answer, she would suggest she does know that an embryo is alive:

To be clear you set it up in the right context, this came out of, kind of, a wrongful death lawsuit, if you will, so it wasn’t exactly this reproductive rights issue, but you could easily see this becoming a reproductive rights issue and what I worry about is, Yasmin, look, these technologies are a miracle. The ability to have children, a number of us have gone through these processes and we have children as a result of them. Can you imagine stopping that ability, the irony to stop that ability for people to become parents because there’s a potential that an embryo could be seen as– an extra-uterine embryo can be seen as a living person? Those two worlds colliding are, you know, unthinkable. 

If an embryo is not a living being, how do people become parents?

Here is a transcript for the February 20 show

MSNBC Jose Diaz-Balart Reports

2/20/2024

11:49 AM ET

KAVITA PATEL: Different clinics will have arrangements with all of the potential parents where they make it clear, at a certain time you have to tell us what you want us to do, but also that varies from person to person. So, I do think that you’re raising a good issue in how we think about, kind of, the future of embryos, but, by the way, that’s not a new conversation. 

YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN: Yeah, exactly. 

PATEL: And that’s one that should not get confused with what’s at issue here. They are defining an extra-uterine embryo as a living creature and that’s just simply not the fact. They’re embryos. 

VOSSOUGHIAN: What is the likelihood this is going to spread to other, more conservative states? And then also, how it’s going to affect health care workers. 

PATEL: Yeah. I’ll speak to the latter. I think that the effect on health care workers, especially reproductive endocrinologists or OB/GYNs is devastating because everybody’s anticipating this will come to their state.

Texas, a number of other states that have incredibly conservative laws on the books. To be clear you set it up in the right context, this came out of, kind of, a wrongful death lawsuit, if you will, so it wasn’t exactly this reproductive rights issue, but you could easily see this becoming a reproductive rights issue and what I worry about is, Yasmin, look, these technologies are a miracle. 

The ability to have children, a number of us have gone through these processes and we have children as a result of them. Can you imagine stopping that ability, the irony to stop that ability for people to become parents because there’s a potential that an embryo could be seen—

VOSSOUGHIAN: Yeah.

PATEL:  – an extra-uterine embryo can be seen as a living person? Those two worlds colliding are, you know, unthinkable. 

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