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


Majority of GOP Voters Believe ‘An Embryo Is a Person with Rights’

May 14, 2024

Since the pro-life Dobbs decision in 2022, which overturned the 50-year reign of Roe v. Wade, the debate on the life issue has only intensified. A new layer of the onion was revealed in late February, when Alabama lawmakers wrestled with the topic of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and whether frozen embryos were considered unborn children.

The Alabama Supreme Court ultimately ruled “that anyone who destroys a frozen embryo may be held liable under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act — a law that has historically applied to born and unborn children.” Such a decision was not free from backlash, and months later, both Democrats and Republicans continue to hash out their views on the matter. However, a recent Pew Research poll revealed some interesting insight to where both parties stand.

Released Monday, the poll reported a major takeaway: “A majority of Americans say the decision to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant woman; about a third say embryos are people with rights.” When asked if they agree with the statement, “Human life begins at conception, so an embryo is a person with rights,” 53% of both Republicans and those who lean Republican said it either “extremely” or “very much” aligned with their values. Additionally, 21% said it only “somewhat” aligned, and 25% said “not too” or “not at all well.”

Overall, the poll found that roughly 35% of Americans agree that human embryos are human with rights. Only 18% of Democrats and those who lean Democrat agreed with the statement, with 16% who partially agreed, and 66% who said the statement did not align well with their views.

On Monday, Breitbart emphasized the connection between the tension that emerged from the IVF debate in Alabama to the results of the poll. They wrote, “Alabama lawmakers faced a massive pressure campaign from Republicans and Democrats following the ruling,” especially “in a highly consequential election year.” They also noted how the Democratic Party has been using the IVF debate “as part of its pro-abortion and reproductive health campaign.” In the wake of the differing Republican responses to the IVF debate, experts say the Pew poll serves as an opportunity to emphasize the weight of acknowledging that life begins at conception.

In comment to The Washington Stand, Mary Szoch, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Human Dignity, explained why these poll results are important to emphasize. “Killing an unborn child impacts so many people,” she said. “Obviously it ends the child’s life, but it also impacts the mother, the father, the baby’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents’ friends.” As Szoch says, “Basic biology tells us that an unborn baby is a human being,” and yet, “this fact is challenging for people to acknowledge because of the connection with abortion.”

According to Szoch, when facing the reality of the death of an unborn child due to abortion, people are often left wondering “if one should currently be doing more to defend life in the womb, recognizing the need for forgiveness because of the role one played in the destruction of life, or feeling the pain of a child who is missing in the family because their life was ended through abortion.” As Szoch highlighted, abortion ends life, which makes “acknowledging that an unborn child is a human being” far more consequential.

Szoch continued, “Acknowledging an unborn child is a human being has major consequences for IVF as well, where those involved have to commit to treating embryos as human beings with dignity and respect, not as pieces of property.” But then, she added, “This calls into question actions that largely make IVF cheaper — like producing extra embryos and freezing embryos for later use. These are inconvenient truths that are challenging to acknowledge — but we must remain committed to truth no matter how challenging it is.”

In light of these tough realities accentuated by the poll, Szoch concluded, “I look forward to the day when people not only recognize an unborn child is a human but also recognize that unborn children deserve protection and the right to life simply because they are human beings made in the image of God.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.