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AB Leadership News News Articles Reproductive Rights Thursday, Feb 29 2024

ICYMI: “I’m an IVF Baby, and I’m Voting for Biden to Protect That Process”

Feb 29, 2024

As Republicans continue their attacks on IVF following the Alabama Supreme Court decision, American Bridge 21st Century’s executive writer and “IVF baby” Matilda Bress penned a personal piece in Teen Vogue about her plans to vote for President Joe Biden and Democrats to protect reproductive rights for families like her own.

Teen Vogue: I’m an IVF Baby, and I’m Voting for Biden to Protect That Process
By Matilda Bress | 02/29/2024

In 1993, my mom anxiously picked up a call from her fertility doctor and heard the words, “I’m so sorry, you’re not pregnant.” She and my dad answered that same call again and again and again and again. It took them six rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant with me and my twin brother.

The Supreme Court of Alabama’s recent ruling put the process that created my brother and me, and completed my family, into jeopardy.

Using religious justification from the Christian Bible, the court ruled that frozen embryos are children under state law and subject to “legislation dealing with the wrongful death of a minor.” According to the Washington Post, the ruling stemmed from a wrongful death case brought by three couples after a patient in a hospital dropped their cryogenically frozen embryos, ultimately destroying them. The implication of the ruling extends well beyond the couples who brought the lawsuit or the patient who could be help liable, though — it is already putting IVF at risk across the state. The New York Times reports that the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system has paused IVF treatment as they weigh the legal risk of creating and storing embryos in a state that would treat them legally like children.

When my brother saw the news, he texted me, “Mom and Dad are murderers in Alabama.” It might seem absurd, but that’s the question we’re now facing: If embryos are considered children in Alabama, what happens when one doesn’t successfully implant? What happens if someone never uses their stored embryos? What happens when something goes wrong?

According to Pew Research, 42% of adults say they have used fertility treatments or personally know someone who has, up from 33% five years ago. More Americans than ever, including queer couples, are seeking fertility assistance. The Alabama ruling threatens to slam the door on their chance to build a family.

As a staffer at the progressive research firm American Bridge 21st Century, I see daily reports from Republicans viciously attacking abortion rights, birth control, and IVF. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, reproductive rights activists warned that abortion access was the first attack, not the last — and they were right.

On Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley sided with Alabama’s dangerous ruling. In 2022, Republican Governor Brian Kemp said he was “open” to restricting IVF. Mississippi GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked a bill to federally protect IVF. Now, 125 U.S. House Republicans have co-sponsored the “Life at Conception Act,” a bill that uses similar language to the Alabama decision and, if passed, could lead to restrictions on IVF nationwide.

In each of these instances, a member of the supposedly “pro-life” party is attacking the very reproductive care that can help create life — that created my life.

When my brother and I were unruly tweens, my dad pulled a dusty suitcase from the garage shelf. It was filled with hundreds of needles. He’d saved a fraction of the daily follicle-stimulating hormone shots my mom took to prove a point: your mom went through hell to have you, so give her some respect.

My mom and millions of Americans put themselves through physical, emotional, and financial turmoil to realize their dream of a family. They deserve respect and support, like paid leave for procedures and insurance covering more fertility costs.

They don’t deserve Trump and other Republican politicians inserting themselves into family planning conversations and doctors’ offices. They don’t deserve GOP justices ruling against their right to make a family. They don’t deserve to live in a country that blocks their opportunities to get pregnant, or to decide when and how to have a healthy pregnancy.

In November, I’m voting for President Joe Biden and the party that stands for reproductive rights. Some have pointed out that, particularly in the case of IVF, the Biden administration’s calls to restore Roe v. Wade don’t go far enough to secure bodily autonomy. We need federal legislation, like Senator Tammy Duckworth’s bill, which establishes a legal right to access IVF and other assisted reproductive services.

In November, I’m voting for President Biden and the party working hard to safeguard — not destroy — reproductive rights. I’m voting for Alabamians who can no longer access fertility assistance. I’m voting for people like my parents, so they can finally hear, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”

Since the Alabama Supreme Court Decision that threatens the future of IVF, Republicans have been trying to defend their records of attacking IVF and reproductive rights at large —

Business Insider: 125 House Republicans — including Speaker Mike Johnson — back a ‘life at conception’ bill without any IVF exception

This Congress, 125 House Republicans — including Speaker Mike Johnson — have cosponsored the “Life at Conception Act,” which states that the term “human being” includes “all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”

The bill does not include any exception for in vitro fertilization (IVF), a reproductive treatment that allows mothers to fertilize several eggs outside the womb in order to increase the chances of a viable pregnancy.

NBC: Nikki Haley sides with Alabama Supreme Court on IVF ruling: ‘Embryos, to me, are babies’

“Embryos, to me, are babies,” [Nikki] Haley told NBC News in an interview, adding that she used artificial insemination to have her son, a different process than IVF that doesn’t present the same complexities around creating embryos in a lab. “When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”

Published: Feb 29, 2024 | Last Modified: Mar 4, 2024

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