GOP Platform seeks to ban creation of embryos (IVF).

November 5, 2012Carole 4 Comments »

I try to refrain from political posts because I know patients want to know about technical aspects of IVF, not my political opinions–and by now– the day before the election- even the most partisan are sick to death of politics. But the main reason I bother with this blog –which generates no income and costs me directly in terms of hosting fees and indirectly in terms of time, time not writing for paying clients or otherwise pursuing a living– is because I think I can do some good by educating patients about their options when it comes to infertility treatment. Regarding healthcare,  I think the more we know, the better decisions we make. We make better decisions for ourselves, as opposed to just being passive consumers of healthcare.

But better education about options doesn’t matter if you have no options or choices to decide about.  Choice to decide when and how you will start or enlarge your families. Choice about what paths you take to parenthood.  So when I see choice abridged by a subset of individuals who declare that one vision, one culture, one religion is the only right one and they will make your choices for you by banning all paths but the ones they approve of, I have to speak up.

Recently, I read the GOP platform word for word to see if there is anything in there that pertains to IVF.  In it I found a statement that bans the creation of embryos -which although inserted into a paragraph about stem cell technology —makes no exception for creation of embryos via IVF for patients–so we can only assume without this modifier that  it would seek to ban IVF.

From the GOP Platform

Under “Supporting Federal Healthcare Research and Development” ,

Here’s the pertinent sentence which calls for a ban on the production of embryos (embryo production is by definition IVF). Without a disclaimer that the ban only applies to embryo production for stem cell technology — there is no reason to think embryo production for IVF is safe.

“We urge a ban on human cloning and on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos.” which when broken down into its three parts become clearer. 

  • We urge a ban on human cloning. (Fifteen states already ban reproductive cloning and there is such popular revulsion to the very idea, it seems a non-issue, but whatever.)
  • We urge a ban on the  creation of human embryos. (Since the sole purpose of IVF is to create embryos, this would obviously ban IVF)
  • We urge a ban on experimentation on human embryos . (Since it is undefined, experimentation can be interpreted to include genetic testing on embryos- for example, for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

The viewpoint that embryos shouldn’t be created in the lab is consistent with the larger pro-life “embryo uber alles”  perspective voiced by social conservative extremists . Mitt Romney’s VP pick Paul Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Bill which would elevate the status of embryo to full person hood, by defining a fertilized egg as a person. This bill and similar person hood bills in every state would, if not outright ban IVF, severely restrict its use. I expect it would be criminal to keep “persons” in a cryostorage container, and pro-life groups have long been strongly opposed to excess embryos being created and stored so they oppose IVF as a matter of principle.

You might expect Mitt Romney to be more appreciative of IVF since two of his children used IVF to produce his grandchildren.  It’s seems hypocritical to pick as your VP candidate an extremist like Paul Ryan who seeks to ban or severely restrict IVF when Romney’s own family members have repeatedly used IVF to create their own familiesOf course, if you have enough money, you can fly anywhere in the world to find either IVF or abortion services so the legality of either is immaterial to your life, so perhaps that is why Romney is not troubled by his apparent cognitive dissonance over Ryan’s views.

The recent hullabaloo about rape also ties into this larger issue of choice. Why are there a persistent handful of GOP politicians who repeatedly  “misspeak” regarding rape–  or is it more likely, that they are accidentally saying what they TRULY believe- that any embryo and every embryo in any circumstance trumps the free-will of every  pregnant woman under every conceivable situation. Truly, in the eyes of these extremists,  the highest ambition/duty of any woman is simply to become and stay pregnant. The woman’s choices, dreams, life have nothing to do with it. Pregnant from rape? Tough. Deal with it because its part of God’s plan even if it was never part of yours. Pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy? Tough, we can’t treat you. Pray that you don’t die. Want IVF to have a child? Tough luck. God meant for you to be infertile. This lack of compassion is astounding.

A common thread that runs through the GOP social conservative’s position appears to be that humans should not dare to interfere with natural conception–either by creating embryos (“unnaturally” in the lab) or by stopping embryos from developing– through the use of contraceptives or abortion. And if women’s lives and futures need to be sacrificed to the embryo each and every time, so be it. Ironically, once that child  is born, the social conservative’s heart often seems to harden. No Head Start for you. No food stamps. No welfare.  We love the idea of you –as an embryo–but not you as an actual born person that might waste our hard earned tax money.

I don’t agree that someone else can decide for you what you can do with your body and your life when it comes to having a family. Until the GOP invents an embryo incubator that goes to term, only women are going to have what it takes to get that embryo to viability–so how can any sentient human being argue that women-critical to this process– should have no say in this process. My choice may not be your choice. Your choice may not mine. But If choice is to be meaningful for anyone, then it has to apply to everyone, regardless of belief or politics. You are not truly free if you do not have these basic freedoms of autonomy over your person.

I voted to re-elect President Obama in my state of NC which allows early voting. I urge every woman (and man) who cares about the right of people to exercise free will over their own reproductive choices to do the same.

© 2012, Carole. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to this entry

  • KW Says:

    Just a side note…you are giving false pretenses that the Republican party believes in “no food stamps/welfare”. This is simply not true. You can have your opinion, but don’t continue fear mongering lies to make it sound better.

  • Carole Says:

    I understand it may be comforting to dismiss as “lies” but the GOP has a long tradition of being generous with tax dollars for Defense, much less generous with tax dollars for social welfare programs. Hence Dems maligned as “Tax and spend ” party.
    Two recent examples of less than generous GOP attitudes to social welfare programs:
    GOP initiated house bill for deeper cuts to SNAP (food stamp) program http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/food-stamps-house-republicans-cuts-snap-bob-goodlatte_n_1665558.html
    From a debate earlier this year. “During Sunday’s debate in Concord, N.H., Romney echoed a call from Santorum to model a host of social services on the welfare reform model. “I’d cut programs, a whole series of programs … return to states a whole series of programs, food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid and then set how much goes to them,” Romney said.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/romney-santorum-gingrich-welfare_n_1197409.html

  • Joy Says:

    Great post. It was the first link listed on google search: Republican Party fertility services! I thought I’d see if the Republican Party had the b____ to actually publish what I’m sure they believe, which is IVF = abortion. So, thanks for doing the research for me.

    (And I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t mention it because you pretty much have to be white and rich–or, corporate-employed–like Romney, to get IVF, and the Republican Party would not want to anger those donors.)

    So, be scared; take this seriously; and fight back. There is hatred in their leadership.

  • Carole Says:

    Hi Joy,
    Thanks for your comments. I hesitated about publishing this post because I know how hot feelings run on this but in the end, I felt to say nothing was cowardly. The good news however, for me, is that the re-election of President Obama and the ouster of most of the extremists (those who were most tone-deaf on the topic of rape) restored my faith that most Americans are moderate. Most Americans seem to recognize that we are a pluralistic society and that is a strength of our country, not a weakness. We need to protect choices because there is more than one way to live a good human life. It will be interesting to see if the politicians can remember that they are charged with forging legislation that makes all our lives better, not just fringe interests. We might have to remind them of that from time to time. Best Wishes, Carole

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