“Personhood” bills are threatening both women’s reproductive rights and access to IVF in all 50 states; however, the two states where they are currently building a great deal of support are Iowa (HF 153) and Oklahoma (HB 1571). These bills are clearly intended to limit IVF treatment, certain forms (if not almost all) of birth control, as well as protecting all life “from the moment of conception, while removing any and all judicial oversight and interpretation.
But, it does not stop there - other states such as Colorado, Montana, Nevada, & North Dakota also have petitions being circulated at a rapid rate for inclusion via ballot or legislation. And, let’s not forget the recent attacks on surrogacy in both Arizona and South Dakota.
As for Iowa and Oklahoma, be aware that these bills are a clear attempt to provide all rights and protections currently only provided to those functioning outside of a woman’s uterus to a fertilized egg in a petri dish or in a woman’s fallopian tube. In short, a woman who does become pregnant would not only lose her right to any medical privacy, she will essentially lose any decision-making authority over her own health.
Some may claim these ramifications of the legislation are both “far-fetched and absurd:” however, one must not forget that many women all over the country have been arrested and charged under the guise of “personhood.” This bill unequivocally threatens the reproductive rights of women across the entire country.
And, let’s not forget the impact on IVF - as it is more than a mere slippery slope since the bills intend to impede the ability of those who suffer from the disease of infertility to seek treatment to create their family. By giving constitutional rights to embryos, the bill will effectively restrict a patient’s right to make any decisions regarding their embryos, while leaving physicians to provide care under the threat of criminal action. These bills intend for the law to consider all embryos as human, regardless of their ability to either implant in the uterus or develop into a person, and their impact will leave patients and their doctors with the inability to decide what is best for them and their treatment.
In short, with “personhood” bills being promoted across the country that will restrict a woman’s reproductive rights and restrict the creation of families, what are we to do? We (as patients, women, men, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers) need to stand firm against the legislators that are proposing these bills and supporters who are circulating petitions as they have the potential to impact the human race as we know it. Stand up and be heard, keep abreast of what is happening in your state, write your legislators, and use the power of your vote to keep these bills off of the docket. Reaction now needs to become action in the future. We did it in Colorado in 2009 and 2010, and it can be done again.