Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Alabama abortion ruling ‘was not a shock’ to activists

By 37ci3 Feb24,2024

The Alabama Supreme Court decision last week that embryos are people, danger of in vitro fertilization, shocked many Americans. But this decision, for years Roe v. It vindicated abortion rights activists who warned that the fallout from the Wade case would jeopardize other forms of reproductive health care.

“It’s something we knew was coming,” Mini Timmaraju, president of Reproductive Freedom for All, told NBC News, adding, “It wasn’t a shock to people watching closely.”

NBC News spoke with several leaders in the abortion rights movement, who said they see the Alabama decision as the latest target in a history of anti-abortion propaganda that won’t end with IVF. They also said they hoped the decision would strengthen support for protecting abortion and other reproductive rights.

“It’s never about abortion”

Abortion rights advocates are bracing for the possibility of Roe’s downfall as the US Supreme Court announces it will take up Mississippi’s 2021 abortion law in 15 weeks. After the Supreme Court overturned a landmark abortion ruling in 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, those activists began preparing for future threats to reproductive health.

“With the Dobbs decision, we knew the opposition wasn’t going to stop there,” Candace Gibson, director of public policy at the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights think tank, said in an interview. “We always know that the anti-abortion movement, the opposition, will try to find any way to limit the right to bodily autonomy.”

Another area of ​​reproductive care that abortion rights groups and anti-abortion politicians have focused on is contraception, both regular contraception and emergency contraception.

“We’ve been saying this was never about abortion, you know, controlling and … who gets to make personal medical decisions,” said Sara Spain, national press secretary for EMILY’s List. support Democratic, pro-abortion women running for office.

She added: “It will be IVF. It’s going to be birth control, and we’re going to continue to see that.”

Advocates also warn that conservative groups are using the same strategies that have been successful in restricting abortion to target LGBTQ rights.

“They’re using the same playbook now to limit the general autonomy and rights of LGBTQ people, especially young people, trans people,” Gibson said, adding, “It’s all part of this, really, as a bigger picture for you. You know, it’s limit the bodily autonomy of people in the country.”

The decades-long relationship between anti-abortion activism and IVF

One key signal to abortion-rights activists predicting restrictions on IVF was the long-running push for policies that underscored the beliefs of some conservatives. that life begins with conception.

“This idea of ​​fetal identity has been a long-standing target in the anti-abortion movement,” Gibson said.

In the 1970s, after the Supreme Court’s Roe decision and as IVF research progressed, abortion opponents mounted a campaign to limit research using embryos, despite recommendations from medical and ethics panels to allow some research.

“To this day – we in this country – do not allow federal funding of research involving human embryos if any embryos are destroyed,” said Margaret Marsh, a professor at Rutgers University and co-author of “The Pursuit of Parenthood.” Reproductive Technology From Tube Babies to Uterine Transplants.”

“They have had quite a strong impact on the way IVF has developed in this country,” he said.

At least 14 states have introduced fetal identity bills in the current legislative session. according to their information Center for Reproductive Rights and the Guttmacher Institute.

Katie Daniel, director of public policy for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, welcomed the Alabama decision and said the group’s position was not against IVF, but rather that “fertility treatment does not need to carelessly or intentionally destroy the new life that has been created.”

RESOLVE: The vast majority of IVF procedures require the creation of multiple embryos, according to Barbara Collura, president and CEO of the National Infertility Association.

“If doctors and embryologists are forced to limit the number of embryos created, they are not giving their patients the best chance to achieve pregnancy. This will undoubtedly increase the financial, physical and emotional burden on the patient,” Collura said. Statement to NBC News.

A rise in abortion rights activism

Abortion rights groups saw a surge in support and activism after the Dobbs decision, and after the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision last week, they expect support to surge again, especially among people seeking and using fertility treatment, not just people. on the left.

“People are under fire. People are really excited and scared. And it’s not just women; men and women. There are so many people using reproductive technologies to start their families,” Timmaraju said, adding, “So I think this will be a moment of mobilization.”

Infinity is such a thing eliminates ideological gaps: Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence underwent IVF, and former presidential candidate Nikki Haley used fertility treatments (though not IVF).

Enter one 6 people face infinityand make sure we’re talking about these issues that affect voters, that affect voters,” Spain said, adding, “Really talking about these cases and … reaching a bipartisan audience. [is important] because we know it doesn’t just affect democrats.

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