So-called "snowflake babies," or children born from frozen human embryos, are in danger of being defunded by the White House administration, which is seeking to end the Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign in an effort to trim the federal budget.
President Barack Obama will not be adding the program to his fiscal budget for 2013, a funding report to Congress in February explained, which all but confirms that the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) will not be continuing its adoption program that allows would-be mothers and couples to adopt a potential baby in a frozen embryonic state and allow it a chance to be born.
The program was funded by former President George W. Bush as part of his pro-life initiative, and some critics are saying this is a sign of Obama's sympathies with the pro-choice movement.
During a 2005 event at the White House with "snowflake" children and their families, President Bush said: "The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo. These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but gifts."
Some Christian organizations that maintain that all human life, including unborn embryos, is sacred, have spoken out against the Obama administration's decision, which now makes it much harder for the 50,000 to 6000,000 or so cryogenically preserved embryos in the U.S. to get a chance at life.
"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.
The official explanation for Obama's decision to defund the program is that there was little interest in it, and that the money could be better spent for other human reproductive health issues.
"Only a very small pool of applicants, many of whom are repeat recipients, are seeking the grants," the HSS explained.
However, some pro-life groups, such as Americans United for Life, have accused the White House administration of revealing its "pro-abortion slant" with this move.
"Why would the Obama administration cut $2 million for adoption awareness, but keep $1 million a day for Planned Parenthood?" asked Mailee Smith, staff counsel at AUL, according to the Washington Times.
She also warned that having so many humans frozen in an embryonic state and facing the danger of being discarded was a "devastating" situation.
Officials at clinics that have received money from the federal program and helped couples achieve parenthood, such as the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, Tenn., are also disappointed they can no longer rely on government support. Dr. Jeffrey Keenan of the NEDC, which had won $3.5 million in federal grants, explained that the program was a "proven strategy" of success, and that the center has 150 "sets" of frozen embryos in storage waiting for adoptive parents.
Dr. Reg Finger, director of the Embryo Donation Services Center, which was also created with federal grant funding, revealed that about 1,900 "snowflake babies" were born in the U.S. between 2004 and 2009.
"If you are not involved, you have no idea of the need for embryo adoption," explained Marti Bailey, a mother who gave birth to twins from frozen embryos several years ago, and has been an advocate for the program ever since.
According to LifeNews.com, Republican GOP candidate Rick Santorum has said that embryo adoption is a chance to "take these little children and give them the potential to live the rest of their lives as the gifts from God that they are."