Conservative organizations issue recommendations on regulating IVF

(The Daily Signal) – Two leading conservative organizations are calling for the regulation of the in vitro fertilization industry amid media hysteria over a recent Alabama state Supreme Court…

(The Daily Signal) – Two leading conservative organizations are calling for the regulation of the in vitro fertilization industry amid media hysteria over a recent Alabama state Supreme Court ruling and Republican consternation over how to handle the issue.

Following the Alabama court ruling in favor of protecting embryonic human life, Republicans on Capitol Hill have suddenly found themselves required to position on a nuanced subject matter tied closely to the dignity of the human person and the fight for life.

Despite media hysteria suggesting the contrary, the Alabama Supreme Court did not ban IVF, but merely ruled in favor of protecting embryonic human life. Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in his opinion that “unborn children are ‘children’” under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

Experts, such as The Heritage Foundation’s Emma Waters, have argued that the ruling brings “much-needed regulation” to the fertility industry in the United States. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Waters noted that only a handful of state laws actually address the “moral and ethical questions raised by the artificial creation of human life.”

“This decision ensures that the well-being of children, not financial gain, is the top priority when it comes to IVF and embryonic cryopreservation,” Waters argues.

In a fact sheet released Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation cautioned that the IVF industry must be regulated and recommended imposing a standard of care on IVF clinics that would prevent “the wanton or careless destruction of embryonic human beings.”

“The willful or reckless loss of an embryonic child should not be treated as a loss of merchandise, where the parents simply get their money back,” the Heritage fact sheet said. “The law should recognize the
gravity of the harm and allow parents proper compensation under the wrongful-death provision.”

Parents should have a legal recourse if a fertility clinic destroys their embryonic children due to “willfulness, neglect, or carelessness,” the fact sheet noted, as the Alabama decision made clear.

Heritage also recommends codifying the recommended guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine to make sure only one embryo is implanted into the mother at a time. That would help avoid health complications for the mother and poor outcomes for the baby, the fact sheet said.

Heritage also calls for limiting the number of embryos created per round of IVF, following the practices of countries such as Germany; for mandating that fertility clinics secure true informed consent from parents; for prohibiting anonymous egg and sperm donations for IVF treatments; and for promoting access to non-assisted reproductive technology fertility treatments.

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s organization, Advancing American Freedom, similarly issued a memo on Tuesday, first obtained by The Daily Signal, that calls for Republicans to promote only IVF practices that promote life.

The top line of AAF’s messaging reminds lawmakers that “life begins at conception.”

“The law must recognize that millions of Americans are alive today due to IVF, and that embryos created via IVF should be afforded legal protection,” the AAF memo said.

At the same time, the conservative organization stressed that IVF presents a moral conundrum, since it often results in “the creation of frozen human beings, and those that are not implants remain frozen for an indefinite period.” The memo says there are about 1 million embryos in existence domestically, and points out that IVF can be used to “pursue a specific genetic result” that will lead to the destruction of embryos or “indefinite freezing of the unwanted child.”

IVF must be pursued responsibly, AAF cautioned, noting that the U.S. is largely out of line with the rest of the world when it comes to regulating the industry.

“Life begins at conception, and our laws should reflect this,” the memo stressed, emphasizing as a bottom line that “Republicans should never shy away from defending life” and unborn children and families deserve better safeguards.

IVF promises to be a complicated thorn in the side of Republicans, many of whom are already unsure how to successfully message on abortion ahead the 2024 election cycle. And it’s an issue that staffers may have to educate themselves on in order to message effectively.

Ethics and Public Policy President Ryan Anderson warned that IVF presents a pitfall that Republicans would do well to study and avoid.

“Republicans should not fall for the Left’s trap here,” he wrote. “They should not hesitate to say that America’s best social and political reforms were suffused with religious conviction. Or that the deepest reasons for our laws lie in God’s eternal law.”

“Nor should Republicans follow pollsters selling them on new government entitlements to IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies,” Anderson added. “There is no political appetite for bans on these procedures, and the GOP should call out the media’s lies suggesting there is. But our current state of unregulated embryo fabricating, freezing, and destroying does need fixing. The medically superior alternatives to IVF warrant promotion. And at the very least, embryos created through IVF deserve legal protection.”

Democrats are eager to harness both abortion and IVF this election cycle.

President Joe Biden was quick to call the Alabama ruling “outrageous and unacceptable,” saying in a statement: “Make no mistake: This is a direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

Former President Donald Trump reacted to the Alabama ruling by promising that the Republican Party “will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families,” emphasizing that “we want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder!”

“The Republican Party should always be on the side of the Miracle of Life,” he added, “and the side of Mothers, Fathers, and their Beautiful Babies. IVF is an important part of that, and our Great Republican Party will always be with you, in your quest, for the ULTIMATE JOY IN LIFE!”