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Assisted Reproduction

Ted Cruz Enthusiastically Backs Fetal Personhood

While I have enjoyed the carnival sideshow that is the GOP primary campaign, this is seriously scary for anyone suffering from infertility:

In a video message released ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated his support for radical fetal “personhood” measures that would criminalize all abortions and even threaten some forms of birth control by granting full constitutional rights to zygotes.

Cruz has previously pledged to back personhood measures, even going so far as to claim that legal personhood for fetuses could “absolutely” be established without a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In his video message, Cruz praised South Carolina Republicans for passing a nonbinding resolution in support of a state constitutional amendment to institute fetal personhood.

“I enthusiastically support that resolution,” he said, “and, as president of the United States, I pledge to you that I will do everything within my power to end the scourge of abortion once and for all, that I will use the full constitutional power and the bully pulpit of the presidency to promote a culture of life, that I will sign any legislation put on my desk to defend the least of these, including legislation that defends the right of all persons, without exception other than the life of the mother from conception to natural death.”

The ramifications of this is significant. By extending constitutional rights to zygotes, this could effectively end IVF as we know it. In a typical IVF cycle, doctors will retrieve approximately 10-30 eggs which could, depending upon a variety of factors, yield 6-20 embryos. Live births from an IVF retrieval cycle occurs in less than 40% of all cases (and this figure decreases considerably based upon maternal age). If a zygote is given full constitutional protections, it would likely compel doctors to limit the number of eggs they retrieve, as well as the number of embryos they create. This would effectively make IVF unavailable to the majority of the population who could not afford multiple IVF cycles in order to achieve a pregnancy and create their family. To say nothing of the added medical risk to women if they have to undergo repeated IVF cycles in order to have a baby. Beyond that, it could expose medical providers to criminal prosecution for negligent homicide in the event of an embryo demise due to negligence.

I know many around the country dismiss the GOP clown car as nothing more than an entertaining reality show. But this is no laughing matter – if Cruz or anyone of his ilk gets elected, reproductive freedoms will be in jeopardy. Just to give some context, based upon the most current statistics provided by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, 2012 saw doctors perform more than 165,000 IVF cycles in the United States. Those procedures led to the birth of more than 61,000 children.

For a party that calls itself pro-life, if Ted Cruz gets his way, there would be tens of thousands of children that wouldn’t get a chance at life. Each year. Yet somehow Ted Cruz wraps himself in the mantle of pro-life.


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