Roundup: North Dakota Considers Personhood Bill; Genetic Risks of IVF

Emily Douglas

North Dakota legislature considers personhood bill; possible genetic risks of IVF; Aspen Baker on MotherTalkers; evangelicals and abortion: not always opposed.

North Dakota Legislature Considers Personhood Bill
The North Dakota House is "hotly debating" a bill that would define
life as beginning at conception, with legislators trying to pass it in
time to send it to the Senate for approval.  But the KFYR-TV report mixes up bills: it says that the bill "would ensure
that before a woman is to have an abortion, she be informed that she
will be terminating the life of a human being. Sponsors say its intent
isn`t to ban abortions, but rather to decrease the number of them.
Opponents say the legislature shouldn`t interfere with a woman`s choice
to have an abortion."  That one is the informed consent bill, also being considered by North Dakota.  More to come on North Dakota’s anti-choice bills soon.

Possible Genetic Risks of IVF

At the New York Times,
Gina Kolata examines latest studies on genetic risks of IVF treatment. 
Writes Kolata, "researchers have always wondered whether there might be
subtle changes
in an embryo that is grown for several days in a petri dish, as IVF
embryos are – and, if so, whether would there be any consequences."  A
recent CDC study provided some preliminary insight into comparative

In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
published a paper reporting that babies conceived with IVF, or with a
technique in which sperm are injected directly into eggs, have a slightly increased risk of several birth defects, including a hole between the two chambers of the heart, a cleft lip
or palate, an improperly developed esophagus and a malformed rectum.
The study involved 9,584 babies with birth defects and 4,792 babies
without. Among the mothers of babies without birth defects, 1.1 percent
had used IVF or related methods, compared with 2.4 percent of mothers
of babies with birth defects.

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Kolata examines several other studies on IVF, and concludes, "But the real question – what is the chance that an
IVF baby will have a birth defect? – has not been definitively

Aspen Baker on MotherTalkers
Check out a provocative interview, and comments section, with Exhale executive director and Rewire contributor Aspen Baker on the blog MotherTalkers.  An excerpt:

Who in your group came up with the term "pro-voice?" What do you mean by that?

When we first launched the organization, the five of us said, "We
are going to be here for women after an abortion no matter what. If
they are pro-choice, if they are pro-life, if they are Christian or
not. (The abortion is) already done. That’s already over." What we see
is a real lack of room or space for women to talk about their own
experiences, to be heard and valued for those stories, that we don’t
have to listen to those stories through some political way…So from
the beginning we don’t attach a pro-choice or pro-life label to us.

Evangelicals and Abortion: Not Always Opposed

Have evangelicals always politicized abortion?  No, says Blake Ellis on the History News Network.  Writes Ellis, "In
fact, the politicization of the abortion
issue during the 1970s was hotly contested by many evangelicals, some
of them from denominations that were quite conservative."  Ellis
examines the work of Southern Baptist leader Foy Valentine, who
resisted Jerry Falwell’s push to criminalize abortion to the exclusion
of measures that would reduce it, like birth control access and
sexuality education.

Topics and Tags:

fertility, infertility, IVF, Personhood, roundup

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