In vitro fertilization is in trouble as 3 states seek to criminalize embryo destruction

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After months of top Republicans getting caught on hot microphone to whisper about plans too Police in vitro fertilizationor say directly, There is a growing wave of bills in state legislatures that target the process more directly.

The Kansas Legislature on Tuesday introduced a The invoice that would constitute a new crime of “unlawful destruction of a fertilized embryo.”.” A Arkansas Legislature introduced a bill that would legally define personality in fertilization and allow someone to be prosecuted for “unlawfully killing” an embryo. West Virginia Republicans have introduced bills that would allow civil lawsuits because the loss of an embryo is due to “negligence”.

legislation as this directly implies IVF: When an embryo is placed in the uterus and implanted on the uterine wall, pregnancy will occur – but the chance of IVF being successful in the first few attempts is slim only about 50 percent. Embryos that fail to implant are destroyed in the process, and fertility clinics often freeze or discard unused embryos. Post Office-roe Abortion bans that contain Language “life begins at conception”.like those in Missouri, Texas and other states, pose a particular threat, since they define “child” as the beginning of fertilization with no specific exceptions for IVF.

Barb Collura, President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, says Jezebel that the new Bills in Kansas, Arkansas and West Virginia seem to “specifically emphasize people who use different types of medical technology” to build their families — particularly with the Kansas bill’s “nonsensical” claim that “illegal abortion” can be “part of the process of assisted reproduction.”

since autumn roeFertility clinics have been acutely aware of the threat they face, and so are their patients: the Wall Street Journal reported in June that some patients were beginning to ask IVF providers to take their embryos to states that protect abortion rights. Similarly, providers began urging lawmakers to pass legislation specifically protecting IVF.

Lauren Wranosky, a research associate at Pregnancy Justice, says the spate of new Statehouse bills is more worrying than ever. The Kansas law is of particular concern because it “would be the first in the country to create a new, unique crime of destroying a fertilized embryo.” The Arkansas bill would effectively “remove language protecting IVF in the state constitution”—and not explicitly Criminalize IVF, es wcould severely limit its availability by allowing only licensed physicians to offer it. Wranosky notes that currently only 6% of people performing IVF are licensed physicians; most are nurses, technicians and embryologists.

Meanwhile, West Virginia IVF providers’ bills could potentially make sitting ducks for costly, bankrupt lawsuits. The language in one of the bills says that IVF is not “required” to be criminalized, but Wranosky says that’s not reassuring. This wording leaves the door wide open to criminalization, and “all it would take is an overzealous prosecutor,” she says. of which there are clearly many under consideration of strong increase in pregnancy lawsuits in the past few years.

Collura says that among people she has worked with or spoken to about infertility struggles, she is concerned that many still “see abortion bans and threats to fertility technology as separate issues.” PPolicies seemingly unrelated to abortion bans have long targeted pregnant women — and fertility technology. Think: Fetal Killing Laws—originally created to tackle the grim subject of murder as a main cause of death for pregnant women – used by prosecutors to criminalize people for pregnancy loss or abortion; Bto request sick Maintenance payments for embryos; bills to Allow pregnant women drive in HOV lanes; COur cases to prosecute pregnant people who cross state lines without their partner’s consent with kidnapping; CUsual battles over frozen embryos that could potentially compel someone to become biological co-parents to an abusive ex.

“All of these new bills that we’re seeing are about putting pregnant people under more government control,” Warnosky said. That people struggling with infertility could be disproportionately harmed is no coincidence: “There has always been an implicit bias towards people not being able to conceive naturally, which is seen as a failure of your feminine ability, in historical Notions of what it means to be someone with a womb.” Infertility is already persistently stigmatized – the implicit threat of criminalization adds an additional layer of cruelty.

Still, IVF is widespread: in 2011, a coalition of reproductive rights advocates and IVF supporters emerged defeated an electoral measure in Mississippi to enact fetal personality. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was inducted last year the right to form a family law create federal law on the use of IVF and other fertility technologies and ban restrictions on people seeking treatments. In 2018, Duckworth became the first senator to give birth in office after using IVF.

But with Duckworth’s bill blocked by Republicans, and the Wave of bills in Kansas, Arkansas and West Virginia, Collura remains concerned about the future. “I’ve heard of people pausing fertility treatments, IVF, after that roe, from people even trying to get pregnant in the first place for fear of complications, which may or may not be available to them,” Collura said. In the absence of a proactive policy change to protect the rights of IVF and pregnant people, “we are seeing lives being uprooted”. In vitro fertilization is in trouble as 3 states seek to criminalize embryo destruction

Adam Bradshaw

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