Unbearable: Personhood Amendments Gain Traction And Continue To Threaten IVF

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Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

This November, after a huge national media spotlight was put on Personhood Amendments, the controversial law was voted down in Mississippi. But that hasn’t stopped the movement from trying its luck in other states in the year to come.

Last night, the Colorado Secretary or State’s Title Board approved the language for a Personhood Amendment to be added to their November ballot. If right-to-life groups can collect enough signatures, the Rocky Mountain State will vote on this measure on November 6th. “In order to affirm basic human dignity, be it resolved that the right to life in this constitution applies equally to all innocent persons.” The amendment defines “person” as applying “to every human being regardless of the method of creation” and “human being” as “a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.”

And Colorado isn’t the only state on it’s way to asking voters if life truly begins at conception. Arkansas and Ohio have both seen paperwork filed by Personhood groups with similar language to that used in Colorado. In fact, the movement has even gained some Republican Presidential nominee support. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and recent-front-runner Newt Gingrich have all signed a pledge to support personhood at conception, should they make it to the White House.

However, one state refuses to allow Personhood be defined as an abortion battle. After all, giving legal rights to each and every embryo would make in vitro fertilization virtually impossible for most women. It would also make several common forms of birth control illegal, such as IUDs. This is not just an anti-abortion measure. And Nevada Judge James E. Wilson is making sure that his constituents realize what they are signing up for. Judge Wilson inserted language into his state’s ballot initiative that would clarify the possible outcomes from Personhood bills. His addendum to the language proposed by the Nevada Prolife Coalition is this:

“The initiative would protect a prenatal person regardless of whether or not the prenatal person would live, grow, or develop in the womb or survive birth; prevent all abortions even in the case of rape, incest, or serious threats to the woman’s health or life, or when a woman is suffering from a miscarriage, or as an emergency treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.

The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the “pill;” and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and others.”

No matter what your view on abortion is, supporters of fertility treatments and IVF should all be worried about bills such as these. While trying to protect embryos, they also make it increasingly difficult for those who are actually trying to have children of their own! Go figure. And to round out all that reproductive health intrusion, these amendments limit a woman’s options for birth control. It’s nice to see that one Judge is trying to make the full weight of these bills known to the public, but there’s obviously a lot of work to be done to protect the IVF and the women who depend on it to grow their family.