As mentioned previously, one of the often asked questions is “How would the Personhood Amendment impact IVF?” (In Vitro Fertilization).
Last week we got two short emails from a Law School Student who said he was doing a paper on how Amendment 26 would impact IVF. Below is his message(s) and our reply . . .
Email inquiry #1
I am a law student at ******. I am writing a paper on the implications of the personhood initiative if it is passed. What would happen with in-vitro fertilization if the personhood initiative passed? They implant fertilized eggs, and many of those frozen eggs are fertilized, are they also considered life? Would it be illegal to dispose of the fertilized eggs if life began at fertilization?
Email Inquiry #2 (a few minutes later)
If life began at fertilization, would in vitro fertilization be illegal since many fertilized embryos are destroyed when trying to implant zygote in the uterus?
Thanks for your question
The short answer is that the Personhood Amendment does not deal directly with IVF (or abortion either, for that matter). What it does is acknowledge and recognize what is already true. Your question begins with a false premise:
“If life began at fertilization,”
However ccording to Fritz Baumgartner, MD (a surgeon and UCLA medical professor):
“Every human embryologist worldwide states that the life of the new individual human being begins at fertilization. No human embryologist has ever described human life as “potential” human life. Thus, killing the embryo — by harvesting embryonic stem cells, by using abortifacient contraceptives, by committing so-called therapeutic cloning, or by flushing spare in-vitro fertilization embryos down the sink — takes that human life.”
Source – click here
And according to Dan Becker, a great bioethics thinker,
“Medically, there is no such thing as a fetilized egg. It is a human zygote, human embryo or human fetus depending on level of development. In a conversational context it is a child.
“The same level of care would be medically applied DURING any stage of IVF, assuring maximum protection for BOTH mother and child. It would NOT outlaw IVF, but it would require the doctor to treat both mother and child with the same “standard of care” for BOTH patients.”
However, these sorts of issues are not best discussed in short emails. You can feel free to email me follow up questions, but if you are writing a paper about this, it would probably be more helpful if we could talk in a little more detail. Please feel free to call (***)-***-**** and leave a message if you don’t get me.
* Also, I am in the **** area fairly regularly, so if you’d like to meet at or around **** sometime to talk I would be glad to do that.