Key Point: “At the same time that they are professing support for IVF, dozens of congressional Republicans have signed onto so-called personhood legislation with no carve-out for embryos in clinics, which, if enacted, would upend how the procedure is practiced in the United States.”

Politico: Republicans have an answer on IVF. It’s only raising more questions.

By: Alice Miranda Ollstein and Megan Messerly

  • Republicans are lining up to pledge their support for in-vitro fertilization — but that won’t end the conversation Alabama’s Supreme Court started last week when it ruled that embryos are people.
  • The court’s decision left the GOP scrambling to answer the philosophical — as well as the logistical, medical and legal implications — that the ruling raised about how to handle unimplanted, viable embryos.
  • At the same time that they are professing support for IVF, dozens of congressional Republicans have signed onto so-called personhood legislation with no carve-out for embryos in clinics, which, if enacted, would upend how the procedure is practiced in the United States.
  • Here are follow-up questions for politicians professing support for IVF:
  • Do you agree with the Alabama ruling, which has led hospitals across the state to cease all IVF services?
  • The Alabama Supreme Court ruling was an unexpected bombshell — a civil suit about the accidental destruction of embryos under the state’s “wrongful death” law that the all-Republican court used to declare that embryos have full legal personhood whether they’re frozen in a clinic or implanted in a uterus. Since then, at least three major clinics in the state have suspended all IVF services, leaving families pursuing costly treatments in limbo.
  • Many other members of Congress have voiced support for IVF despite co-sponsoring fetal personhood bills similar to the language in the Alabama state constitution on which the court relied in its IVF ruling.
  • Are embryos people even if they are not implanted in the uterus?
  • Conservative states that have adopted so-called fetal personhood laws illustrate these diverging views. A Missouri law passed nearly four decades ago grants rights to “unborn children,” which it defines as “the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception.” Georgia’s version defines “unborn children” more narrowly as “Homo sapiens at any stage of development” who are “carried in the womb.”
  • These varying fetal personhood laws raise questions about child support, taxes and the legality of certain forms of contraception that work by preventing implantation, not fertilization.
  • What should be done with the million or more embryos that are cryopreserved? No one knows how many embryos are in cold storage, but several estimates put the figure above 1 million.
  • A ruling barring clinics from discarding the fertilized embryos that are not implanted raises questions about their fate including who would be responsible for paying for storage, or whether they could be frozen in perpetuity.

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