Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.
One in eight couples uses in-vitro fertilization and other forms of assisted reproductive technology to have children, notes Dr. Ruben Alvero in a Denver Daily News article today.
Yet Colorado voters are being asked to pass the so-called "Personhood Amendment", Amendment 62, which could essentially block couples seeking to have children from utilizing in-vitro fertilization.
Yesterday, physicians and families – especially those who have been helped immensely by the use of in-vitro fertilization, spoke up about the dangers of Amendment 62.
Jim Burness, the father of a 27-month-old daughter who was conceived through in-vitro fertilization, also shared his story.
“Right after our wedding, my father-in-law and my mother both passed away,” Burness said. “As a result, my wife and I had a strong desire to have a child that would have a biological link to those we lost. In this day and age, I am astounded how any group can think they have a right to dictate whether my daughter can have a biological sibling.”
Backers of the initiative have filed a lawsuit to change the language in the state voter’s guide (the "Blue Book") as they believe the current wording shares misinformation about the impact of the measure. As Wendy Norris and others have covered extensively on RH Reality Check, the Personhood Amendment seeks to imbue fertilized eggs with the full legal rights of citizens. Theresa Erickson, writing on The American Fertility Association’s web site, notes
"…the groups backing the amendment are attempting to stop all abortions while effectively banning abortions for victims of rape and incest, banning abortions to save the life of the woman, banning certain forms of birth control (such as IUDs, which inhibit the implantation of an embryo), and banning in-vitro fertilization and other forms of medical research. Furthermore, in its current form this amendment would effectively restrict a woman and her doctor the ability to obtain and provide proper medical care – instead, it could potentially criminalize the actions of the doctor and his or her patient."
So, it’s odd, isn’t it, that anti-choice blogger and speaker, Jill Stanek, decries the wonders of in-vitro fertlization on her blog today? Stanek blogs about the story of Grace and Luke "frozen when they were 8 cell embryos" and adopted by a Christian couple who "had gestated and given birth to their other embryos" (huh?).
But how were the "8 cell embryos" created in the first place? Through in-vitro fertilization.
Though Stanek claims that the couple who "adopted" the embryos were using discarded embryos and so, presumably, were doing their good deed by saving them, it’s worthwhile to note that the couple in California who were receiving fertility help, initially, would never have been able to conceive without the help of this assisted reproductive technology.
Amendment 62 would take that option away from couples in Colorado.
“Amendment 62 would deny those couples a medical solution to their infertility and a vital option by which to build their families,” Alvero said.
Stanek also notes that pro-lifers are opposed to destruction of embryos for scientific purposes on the basis that they are "unique, innocent human beings" yet physicians at yesterday’s rally warned that signficant stem cell research on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and other conditions would certainly be halted if Amendment 62 passes. Many in the anti-choice community also are opposed to Personhood amendments as they are simply too extreme. Robin Marty notes just how blatantly bizarre and offensive Amendment 62′s arguments have become.
Ob/Gyn, Dr. Andrew Ross, told a heart-wrenching story at the rally yesterday of his wife’s miscarriage and the potential for her "uterus to become a crime scene" under Amendment 62; not far-fetched, as we’ve seen this happen in Mexico and El Salvador.
A hearing on the Personhood Amendment’s Blue Book language is scheduled for this Thursday morning in Denver.