Personhood bills may end clinical In Vitro Fertilization in the USFebruary 2, 2017Carole 1 Comment »
On January 17th, 2017, HR586 was introduced by Jody B. Hice (R- GA) into the House of Representatives. Full text of the bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/586/text, and summary is below:
Sanctity of Human Life Act
This bill declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is a person’s most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its equivalent, at which time every human has all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory have the authority to protect all human lives.
How could this end the clinical practice of IVF?
If life is legally defined to occur at fertilization, then every fertilized egg in the IVF lab is a human being, by legal definition.
Here are some non-negotiable facts.
Not all fertilized eggs survive past day 1, or day 2 or day 3, or day 5 and so on. Embryos die both in the human body and in the lab for lots of reasons. Genetic issues can arise during the final stages of egg maturation or sperm production, and the resulting fertilized egg can end up with more or less than the normal number of chromosomes, which can lead to it’s demise at some stage of development, before or after implantation. The danger is not over after fertilization. As the embryo continues to undergo cell division, more chromosomal abnormalities can be introduced every time a cell divides. Nothing about this process is foolproof. The fertilized egg and embryo is subject to these same dangers inside the body or in a dish in the IVF lab.
In the lab, there are even more dangers. Errors that arise in the lab environment from technical issues or equipment failure can also cause embryonic demise, unintentionally.
So, bottom line, fertilized eggs and embryos die in the lab, frequently. Let that soak in. So now if these dying embryos are people, and they die in the course of the time they spend in the lab, the lab staff are now liable for punishment for causing the death of human beings, namely:
- Involuntary manslaughter, punishable by a fine or up to 8 years imprisonment
- Voluntary manslaughter , punishable by a fine or up to 15 years imprisonment
- Second degree murder, punishable by terms of years to life
- First degree murder, life imprisonment or death sentence.
Would you step into the lab the day after this law passes, knowing that you could be criminally liable for what happens naturally in the course of development to fertilized eggs? No? Me neither. And I bet most embryologists would find alternative employment in the animal industry or other locations that don’t have ignorant laws. Most embryologists love their jobs but they won’t go to jail for helping people.
So if you’d rather not see the demise of IVF — maybe because you need it in the future or benefited from IVF in the past, please call your representatives and tell them that no, you are NOT okay with this. Here are the names of the 25 co-sponsors of this bill if you want to give their offices a call. Click on the links below for their contact information. Let’s try to save IVF for the 1 in 6 couples who might need it.
© 2017, Carole. All rights reserved.