Romney’s VP Pick is Co-sponsor of Anti-IVF, Anti-Woman Personhood Bill

August 31, 2012Carole 1 Comment »

If you feel that IVF is a useful medical advance that has helped millions of couple’s start and grow their families worldwide and you want to prevent the criminalization of IVF  in the US,  then you should be aware of House Bill 212, called the Sanctity of Human Life Bill. It was introduced in Jan 2011 and is currently in committee. Will it pass? Similar bills proposed in other bills have not passed but they are repeatedly introduced in every state and also at the federal levels by social conservatives. The Sanctity of Human Life bill was co-sponsored by Mitt Romney’s VP Pick, Paul Ryan. I can only imagine that a Republican win in 2012 will ensure passage of this Bill or others like it. In fact, the GOP platform has enshrined personhood as one of it’s primary initiatives, in this assertion,we support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

The complete bill is copied below.

BEGIN QUOTE ” 112th CONGRESS, 1st Session, H. R. 212

To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.

January 7, 2011
Mr. BROUN of Georgia (for himself, Mr. AKIN, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. BARTLETT, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. CARTER, Mr. CHAFFETZ, Mr. COLE, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. FLEMING, Mr. FORBES, Ms. FOXX, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. GARRETT, Mr. GINGREY of Georgia, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. JONES, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. KLINE, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LATTA, Mr. MANZULLO, Mr. MARCHANT, Mr. MCHENRY, Mr. MCKINLEY, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. OLSON, Mr. ROE of Tennessee, Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Mr. ROONEY, Mr. SCALISE, Mr. SCHOCK, Mr. TERRY, Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. HERGER, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin, Mr. GARY G. MILLER of California, Mr. ADERHOLT, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. CRAWFORD, Mr. LONG, Mr. PEARCE, Mrs. BLACK, Mr. GIBBS, Mr. HUELSKAMP, Mr. LUETKEMEYER, Mr. ROKITA, and Mr. WITTMAN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ‘Sanctity of Human Life Act’.


In the exercise of the powers of the Congress, including Congress’ power under article I, section 8 of the Constitution, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress’ power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States–

(1) the Congress declares that–

(A) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and

(B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and

(2) the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.


For purposes of this Act:

(1) FERTILIZATION- The term ‘fertilization’ means the process of a human spermatozoan penetrating the cell membrane of a human oocyte to create a human zygote, a one-celled human embryo, which is a new unique human being.

(2) CLONING- The term ‘cloning’ means the process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, that combines an enucleated egg and the nucleus of a somatic cell to make a human embryo.

(3) HUMAN; HUMAN BEING- The terms ‘human’ and ‘human being’ include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, beginning with the earliest stage of development, created by the process of fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent.” END QUOTE

Section 2, when deconstructed, reveals it’s impact on IVF.

“the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent”. Life is not person hood. Although it is true that every person had their start as a fertilized egg, that does not mean that every fertilized egg will make a person. Unfortunately, many IVF patients personally experience and can attest to this fundamental truth.  Therefore the beginning of life is not the same as the full achievement of person hood. Eight to one-hundred and twenty-eight cells held together by a carbohydrate shell is not yet a person.

(2) “irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood;”  Here is where we go off the deep end and where IVF becomes illegal. Even abnormal, defective one-cell fertilized egg embryos are persons under this definition.  When an egg is fertilized in the IVF lab, an embryo is produced. This embryo may not be normal due to inherent genetic defects. Abnormal embryos are routinely discarded. IVF produced embryos may not be healthy due to inherent defects or due to suboptimal conditions in the lab. Many embryos stop dividing all on their own for reasons we don’t understand.

Sometimes, unfortunately, embryos are destroyed in the lab due to technical problems or equipment failure. It is one thing to be liable for the destruction of an embryo through events foreseen and unforeseen. It is something completely different to be liable for the death of a person or human being. Hundreds of thousands of embryos are held in storage tanks in clinics throughout the US. If embryos are persons, their loss or demise at any step is liable to be criminal manslaughter, if not murder. If this or other personhood bills like it are passed, clinics will dissolve overnight. Who in their right mind would want to offer medical services which could result in a daily risk of imprisonment from events that are normal consequences of routine IVF?

Obviously, “condition of dependency” covers embryos in utero and this bill is primarily targeted toward eliminating what are now legal abortions.  Since an embryo can not develop into a fetus or a baby in a laboratory, this bill essentially requires every woman to incubate an embryo until birth occurs or the demise of the implanted embryo by natural means, since any other choice to discontinue the pregnancy would by legislated definition kill a person, clearly a crime.

Since women are so essential to pregnancy and birth, it seems glaringly obvious that each women should have a say over this essential female function occurring within her own body.

The US government should NEVER  require its female citizens to use their bodies for gestation against their will. If these laws are passed, women who don’t wish to carry their pregnancies to term and have an abortion become criminals and can be punished ( see section 2.b.2 where authority to enforce the law is given to all states, territories etc..)  If the government can require women to gestate embryos in all circumstances, how are women not second class citizens? What is next? Could the government require all unmarried men to be sterilized if they have not reproduced by the age of 40 to prevent creation of citizens with aged sperm? Could the government dissolve marriages that do not produce offspring within two years? Could the government require that all married couples provide evidence that they are dutifully copulating during fertile periods to ensure every opportunity for procreation is utilized? Does this seem absurd to you? How about if I name these bills, The Sanctity of Human Procreation Act or the Family Enrichment and Support Act? Does it sound better to you now?

I am seriously offended by these absurd Taliban-ish laws. How is this even remotely okay in the United States of America, the land of the free?  How free can we be if the government can co-opt our bodies to reproduce for the greater good of the state? Ironically, these self-same social conservatives are fighting to minimize the size and scope of government, but not when it would run counter to their very personal religious beliefs. They would impose their religious beliefs via the might of the self-same government they otherwise oppose.

I don’t know of any women anywhere  who is pro-abortion, but most women, if they are honest, can imagine a circumstance where they would say,” NO, I can’t be pregnant now, because….and the reason is unique to their circumstances. That is why choice is so fundamentally important to freedom. Personhood laws ultimately remove this choice and let the government decide that you will stay pregnant, regardless of how you got that way or whether pregnancy might even kill you.

If you are a woman, think very carefully about your vote in this 2012 election. Depending on the outcome, it may well be your last vote as a fully-empowered US citizen.

© 2012, Carole. All rights reserved.

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