You may have heard that there are several “personhood” bills that have been introduced at the state and Federal level. You may be wondering what personhood is and how it might impact you, particularly if you are among the one in eight individuals that are affected by infertility. The primary goal of the personhood bills is to make abortion illegal, but, ironically, it would also have negative effects on those who are trying very hard to have a baby and have to rely on ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) to build their families.
Personhood bills aim to define human life to begin at the moment of fertilization or conception and grant constitutional rights and privileges to all persons from that moment. If these proposals were to become personhood laws, they would severely impact infertility treatments, especially IVF. As outlined by RESOLVE, with Personhood legislation, however, the legality of effective pro-pregnancy fertility treatments such as IVF could be called into question: if microscopic fertilized eggs/embryos are full humans, anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a criminal violation, even if its goal is the undeniable social good of helping someone have a baby.
National reproductive rights organizations (ASRM, RESOLVE and SART) actively monitor and communicate with policymakers regarding the negative impact these bills would have on the practice of reproductive medicine and the reproductive rights of infertility patients as well as their extended families, who also want grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. These organizations have been able to successfully defeat many similar personhood measures since 2008. Doing so remains a top priority. A current list of the bills that are being monitored and opposed, are:
- US HR 586, Sanctity of Human Life Act; HR 681/S231, Life at Conception Act
- AL HB98
- AR SJR 9
- IA HF 297/SF 253
- IN HB1134
- KS HCR 5009
- SC S 217/H 3530 The Personhood Act of South Carolina
- MO HJR 18 and HB709, the Missouri Right to Life Act
- TN HB 895/SB 754, the Sanctity of Human Life Act
- TX HB 948
- WA HB 1649, Washington State Life at Conception Act
If you are a patient or loved one of someone who has relied on IVF or other infertility treatments to reach the goal of building a family, we encourage you to send a message of opposition to your representative by clicking on this link.