Repercussions for the Future of IVF
A lot is going on these days, from the assault on the Capitol to school boards, from the COVID-19 pandemic to school shootings. As consumers, I’m sure you are torn from all directions, and to make matters worse, you are trying to build your family against this traumatic backdrop. While I hate to load more to your already full plate, I think those of you out there trying your best to cope with the reality of infertility and pregnancy loss should keep a watchful eye on the Supreme Court and what looks to be the beginning of the end for Roe V. Wade and women’s reproductive rights.
Most of you might never think about having an abortion. After all, we have all experienced the heartbreak of infertility and pregnancy loss in a quest to build our families. But what is happening now at the highest court in the land threatens the ability to make medical treatment decisions that many of you need to create your family. These decisions are complex, private, and highly personal.
In the recent past, some states have created laws to threaten the use of contraception as a form of abortion; and make their use a criminal offense. You may say to yourself, “What does that have to do with me? I am in treatment for infertility to create a family.”
Are you considering or using IVF treatment? If so, please lend an ear and listen closely. The Supreme Court is now looking to overturn Roe V. Wade, and unfortunately, that has a great deal to do with fertility treatment.
For years since INCIID’s inception (1995), notes have arrived periodically in the INCIID mailbox written by hand as well as emails accusing us of playing “God” and filled with hate toward the INCIID mission and all who support it. These notes have been threatening and accusatory, but they all had one thing in common. The authors all equated IVF to building a family as an abortive process. People I’ve spoken to about this have looked at me in wonder asking, how that could be. I have no answers but to direct you to the tinfoil hat-wearing crowd.
Roe V. Wade originated from a Texas lawsuit leading to the Supreme Court decision (1973) based on a woman’s right to have an abortion. The findings by the court were decided on two important things:
- The Constitution of the United States provides a fundamental right to privacy and
- The right to an abortion is not absolute but must be balanced against government interests to protect women’s health and prenatal life.
The court decided Roe based on the due process clause in the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. The court at this time was skeptical of life and its beginnings. Different religions define the origin of life at other times. For example, life begins at birth in the Jewish faith, but Catholicism dictates that life begins at conception.
The Constitution does not define a “person,” but it does provide protection to cover those “born or naturalized” in the United States. The court concluded that unborn children are not recognized as “persons.”
2008 and Kristi Burton (Brown) Personhood Movement Born
In 2008, Ms. Brown was a college student in Colorado who was instrumental in getting the 48th amendment to the Colorado Constitution voice. It failed, but the personhood movement was born. Personhood defines “any human being “ as a person from the moment of conception.
Kristi Burton Brown, JD, is a Christian Attorney and co-sponsor and spokesperson for the nation’s first Personhood Amendment in Colorado.
These laws seek to classify all fertilization (of eggs embryos, fetus et al.) as persons. As persons, an 8-cell blastocyst or embryo would have the same status, rights, and protection as your husband or wife or anyone else under the Constitution of the United States.
“Fetal homicide laws are already being used in numerous states to arrest and prosecute women who experience a miscarriage as “harming the fetus.”
Tennessee HB1252 & SB1370 Personhood Bill Formerly, the bill centered under viability outside the womb.… This bill rewrites this provision to provide instead that “person” includes an unborn child at any stage of gestation in utero. Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bell and Rep. Bryan Terry
Status: Signed into law in May 2021
Georgia, SB 169 (2009): “A living in vitro human embryo is a biological human being who is not the property of any person or entity.”
Georgia, HB 388 (2009): “…[T]he term ‘child’ shall include a human embryo.”
South Carolina, S. 450 (2009): “The right to life for each born and preborn human being vests at fertilization.”
Arizona, SB 1307 (2010): “A person shall not intentionally or knowingly engage in … nontherapeutic research that … results in the injury, death or destruction of an in vitro human embryo.” Read more at the Center for Reproductive Rights
Virginia, HB1 and Oklahoma, SB 1433 (2012): “[T]he terms ‘unborn children… shall include … the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.” In Virginia, the election for Governor was won by Youngkin (R) and LT Governor Winsome Sears (R), who both support anti-abortion initiatives, including the “heartbeat” bills.
Oklahoma, HJR 1067 (2012): “[T]he term ‘persons’ … applies to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being…. Only in vitro fertilization and assisted reproduction that kills a person shall be affected by this section.”
So, what does this have to do with IVF? For example, assigning the status of “person” to an embryo the moment when sperm meets egg means that IVF clinics can no longer create, freeze, or manipulate sperm and egg because they would be manipulating a “person”. Other ramifications would be preventing the extraction of eggs for preservation. Think about what that will mean to cancer patients. If you are looking at surrogacy or use of donor eggs, this will affect you. .It you value building your family with privacy between you and your medical professionals, you may want to contact your representatives in Congress with a personal story.
Visit the Center for Reproductive Rights to see how your state is affected should Roe V. Wade be overturned