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IVF: The New Republican Nail for Their 'Pro-Life' Hammer

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My husband and I started trying to have children when I was 33.

I was older than some first-time moms I knew, but I was also younger than plenty others. My husband and I were both healthy, and there was no reason to suspect we'd have trouble conceiving. In fact, I was so confident of our success that for my birthday that first year, I asked for gift cards to get baby items.

Even if it takes a few months to get pregnant, I thought, they'll be handy for diapers.

But it would be almost seven years before I would hold my first child in my arms.

I spent the interim years traveling a hellish landscape of doctors and injections, hormones, IVF and, most heartbreakingly, multiple miscarriages. I emerged scarred but ultimately the parent of two wonderful boys, children I most certainly would not have were it not for advanced fertility treatments.

I say all this in acknowledgement of the fact that I cannot be unbiased when it comes to the GOP's attempts to target IVF, specifically, and more broadly, women's rights to control their own reproduction in general. But it's because of that bias that I feel compelled to speak out about the primacy of reproductive rights and to tell those who might take it for granted how valuable procedures like IVF are.

 

Now, there is no right to give birth. God knows there are plenty of women who deserve it, want it and do everything they can to achieve it, only to be thwarted. But the ability to make your own decisions about reproduction -- what to try, when and if to start and stop, which treatments to pursue -- that, I believe, is fundamental.

Defenders of abortion rights were told we were hysterical and paranoid for believing that restrictions would lead to the anti-abortion movement turning on IVF, surrogacy and even birth control.

But it turns out we were right, as personhood laws in Alabama have rendered IVF virtually impossible and the conservative Heritage Foundation has begun discussing restricting IVF and banning related procedures like genetic testing. They've announced a full-court press on the topic, trying to persuade evangelical leaders to come out against the practice.

"Many of these pro-life Republicans are going to have to think more deeply about what it means to be pro-life," Emma Waters, a senior research associate at the Heritage Foundation who wrote a report calling IVF in the U.S. tantamount to "eugenics," told Politico.

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