". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Dems’ Senate Bill Isn’t about Protecting IVF Because Alabama Didn’t Ban It

February 29, 2024

Senate Democrats attempted on Wednesday to push through a bill (S. 3612) they claim “creates federal protections for in vitro fertilization [IVF],” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “even though it’s not being threatened in reality.” However, the bill would also legalize genetically modified embryos, commercial surrogacy, and the sale and destruction of human embryos.

During a sleepy afternoon session with only a handful of legislators present, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) moved to have the bill effectively pass the legislature’s upper chamber without a vote. The pretext was an Alabama Supreme Court decision that upheld the sanctity of unborn life without banning IVF, as the Left has falsely claimed.

Only Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) was present to object in the mostly empty Senate chamber. “The bill before us today is a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way to far,” warned Hyde-Smith.

  1. 3612 declares a statutory right for individuals to “access assisted reproductive technology,” which is defined as “all treatments or procedures which include the handling of human oocytes [eggs] or embryos.”

“The bill’s expansive definition of artificial reproductive technology sweeps in much more than IVF and has far-reaching implications,” Hyde-Smith recited. “It would legalize human cloning. It would legalize commercial surrogacy, including for young girls without parental involvement. It would legalize gene-edited, ‘designer’ babies. It would legalize the creation of human-animal chimeras.”

Under S. 3612, individuals would also “retain all rights regarding the use or disposition of reproductive genetic materials.” The phrase “reproductive genetic materials” counts unborn human embryos as non-human property, while “the use or disposition” affirms the individuals right to use, sell, or destroy their offspring thus dehumanized.

“States like Louisiana have policies that allow IVF, coupled with commonsense protections to respect human life,” Hyde-Smith continued. “This bill does not do that.”

“The thing that concerned me the most was to force the religious entities to violate their beliefs,” Hyde-Smith stated on “Washington Watch” Wednesday. The act “supersedes” all federal law, “including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 [RFRA].” RFRA provides the statutory basis on which religiously oriented businesses such as Hobby Lobby have obtained exemptions from government mandates that violate their conscience. “This is the first piece of legislation that explicitly waives the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” noted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Not that proponents of the bill were emphasizing these extreme, morally dubious policies on the Senate floor. Instead, Duckworth pounded the podium on IVF alone, saying, “I warned that red states would come for IVF, and now they have. But they aren’t just going to stop in Alabama. Mark my words, if we don’t act now, it will only get worse.”

“Act now” is politician code-speak for “Don’t take the time to think it over.”

“They were just looking for the opportunity to get these things in there,” said Hyde-Smith. “So, somebody [had] to go to the floor and just really put it in clear terms: that [the Alabama court decision] did not ban IVF, nor has any state banned IVF.” In fact, “No one on the Republican side that I can name you is in opposition of that.”

Hyde-Smith believes that Democrats are “just attempting to exploit the emotions that are associated with IVF” as “part of the overall climate of being in a presidential election” — one in which President Biden has made abortion his top priority.

If Democrats sincerely wanted to protect IVF from state-level attempts to ban it, then the strategic play would be to promote an IVF bill that could receive bipartisan support. If, instead, Democrats wanted to insincerely blame Republicans for wanting to ban IVF, then the strategic play would be to promote an IVF bill full of poison pills to force Republicans to vote against it — which is what they offered.

Read it for yourself,” exclaimed Perkins. “This bill … as written, raises numerous, numerous moral and biological bioethical issues that go far beyond ensuring the IVF issue. … The Left is seizing on this opportunity to push some crazy stuff.”

All over a made-up crisis. “Here are the facts,” related Perkins. “No state legislature has attempted to ban IVF, nor has any bill been proposed in Congress which would ban IVF, nor did the Alabama Supreme Court decision put it in jeopardy.”

Banning IVF was so far from the agenda of Alabama legislators, and even pro-life advocates, that Alabama Pro-Life Coalition President Eric Johnston said on Tuesday’s “Washington Watch” the “Supreme Court case has sort of caught everyone by surprise.” Certainly the way the Left’s media machine has fomented it into a national issue “did shake up everything in the statehouse.” The topic was such a non-issue that many pro-lifers didn’t know, at first, how to respond. “Many of the Republicans are not as pro-life as they may claim to be, and these kinds of cases make difficult issues for them to address,” noted Johnston. If there were politicians seeking to ban IVF, then certainly their initial responses would have been better than a weak, “Wait, what? We’re not trying to ban IVF.”

The Alabama Supreme Court decision didn’t even deal with criminal law, clarified Johnston. “It’s a civil action. … We have a separate criminal law that addresses children in utero. We don’t have a criminal law that addresses children in vitro. And so, this was a damages case.”

In fact, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) later clarified he “has no intention of using the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision as a basis for prosecuting IVF families or providers.” That clarification did not deter an unknown individual from placing and detonating an explosive device outside his office building the next morning.

One reason for Marshall’s clarification was that “the court’s decision didn’t do anything to prohibit IVF,” Perkins reiterated. The court simply “ruled that, under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, the definition of a child applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location, and this includes embryonic children created through IVF.”

That statement is only offensive to people who think the definition of a child should apply to no unborn children. “There’s a consistency here,” said Perkins. “I mean, if a child is a child, it is a child, whether it is in a frozen embryo form or whether it is in the womb.”

That explains the opposition from rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate. Perkins lamented that “Senate Democrats have manufactured another boogeyman” and have tried to “seize the issue for political gain.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the Alabama decision “stunningly radical” and “as cruel as it is enraging.” It is, after all, easier to point an accusatory finger than defend one’s own support for abortion-on-demand through all nine months, funded at taxpayer expense.

Fortunately, Hyde-Smith’s courageous objection forced this monstrous legislative vehicle out of the fast lane and into traffic. “They’re going to have to start over,” she said. “[They’re] going to have to go through the committee process [for] anything that they want to do. And you just can’t go to the floor and make sure it just passes with nobody in the chamber.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.