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March 01, 2024 04:50 PM UTC

Hickenlooper Sponsors Bill to Protect IVF

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Heidi Beedle

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats in Washington have introduced legislation that would establish a statutory right to access in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology services. U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) has co-sponsored the Access to Family Building Act, which he says will ensure no hopeful parent or doctor is punished for trying to start or grow a family.

“Like so many others, my wife and I wouldn’t have our beautiful baby son without IVF,” said Hickenlooper in a news release. “Alabama’s extreme ruling is the next MAGA Republican attempt to roll back reproductive freedoms. Attacks like this will only become more frequent unless Congress passes new protections.”

Earlier this month, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring that embryos created through IVF should be considered children. Several of the state’s IVF clinics have since paused services, and lawmakers, doctors, and patients have raised concerns about the impacts of the ruling on reproductive health care.

While the broader “pro-life” movement has sought to impose gestational restrictions and other limits on abortion procedures, hardline anti-abortion activists, such as abortion abolitionists, have not only targeted abortion, but also seek to ban IVF and hormonal birth control. Under their view that fetuses and embryos deserve protection under the 14th amendment, IVF procedures, in which 10-20 human eggs are harvested, fertilized and then implanted in the uterus or frozen for later use, is wrongful imprisonment for the embryos that are cryogenically stored, and murder for the embryos that are discarded.

According to reporting from Media Matters for America, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker indicated that he is a proponent of the “Seven Mountain Mandate,” a theological approach that calls on Christians to impose fundamentalist values on all aspects of American life. Parker appeared on the podcast of John Enlow, a self-proclaimed “prophet” and QAnon conspiracy theorist who has claimed that world leaders are “satanic” pedophiles who “steal blood” and “do sacrifices”

“God created government,” said Parker “And the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it’s heartbreaking for those of us who understand. And we know it is for Him, and that’s why He is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains right now.”

Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, developed the idea of the “Seven Mountain Mandate” with Youth With a Mission Founder Loren Cunningham in the 1970s, which posits that the Christian church should control the seven spheres of social influence — family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business, and government. In recent years the movement has seen a resurgence due to the efforts of Christian influencers such as Lance Wallnau and other conservative activists tied to the New Apostalic Reformation. Wallnau serves on the board of Andrew Wommack’s Truth and Liberty Coalition, the 501(c)4 nonprofit that has been active in Colorado politics — particularly school board races.

Wallnau during the 2022 Truth and Liberty Conference.
In addition to protecting abortion under the Reproductive Health Equity Act, Colorado legislators have also passed measures to support IVF, such as 2022’s Family Affirmation Act, or Marlo’s law, named after former Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar’s daughter. The law simplified the adoption process for parents who conceived using an array of fertility technology and other assistance.

Despite existing legal protection, Republicans and anti-abortion activists continue to push for restrictions on reproductive health care. In 2008 Colorado saw the nation’s first attempt at a “fetal personhood” ballot initiative with Amendment 48. Kristi Burton Brown, the former Colorado Republican Party Chair, was the sponsor behind that measure, and has built her political career on her anti-abortion stance. Amendment 48, and a 2010 attempt, Amendment 62, were both rejected by voters with over 70% of voters opposed, and did not receive a majority vote in any county in Colorado. Amendment 67, in 2014, was rejected by nearly 65% of voters, and 2020’s Proposition 115, which would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, was defeated with 59% of the vote, after opponents spent $9.5 million to campaign against the measure. In 2022, an attempt to classify abortion as “murder” failed to gather enough signatures to even make it on the ballot.

This year, anti-abortion activists are collecting signatures for the “Protections for a Living Child” ballot initiative, which would classify abortion as murder and result in the prosecution of patients and medical providers and the closure of any medical facility that aids in an abortion, including pharmacies that provide medication abortion. Pro-abortion activists are collecting signatures for Initiatives 89 and 90, “Right to Abortion,” which would recognize the right to an abortion under the Colorado Constitution and allow coverage of the procedure by health insurance plans for state and local government employees.

In addition to the string of failed personhood amendments, Colorado Republicans have consistently introduced doomed legislation to restrict abortion access in Colorado. In February, 2022, Democrats rejected three anti-abortion measures, and last year, bills to end abortion in Colorado, provide pain medication to fetuses during abortions, and provide information about abortion pill reversal were voted down.

On March 4, Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) will present his anti-abortion bill, “Personhood of Living Unborn Human Child,” before the State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill would define “person” to include a living unborn human child at any stage of development, from fertilization at the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, as “person” relates to a private right of action and neglect provisions and current homicide and assault provisions.

On March 5, Bottoms will present his “Require Information about Abortion Pill Reversal” bill before the Health and Human Services Committee, which would require a physician or other qualified medical professional assisting a physician to provide state-prepared information concerning abortion pill reversal. Democrats and abortion advocates argue that abortion pill reversal is not supported by medical science, and in August the Colorado Medical Board found that abortion pill reversal is outside the “generally accepted standard of practice.”

Last year, similar bills brought by Bottoms and others were killed in committee.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Hickenlooper Sponsors Bill to Protect IVF

  1. Life begins at conception or we have to lie for a bit before the election and then we'll enact the really dangerous laws. 

    – Republican Leadership 

  2. "Life begins at conception."

    and

    "About 10% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher. This is because many miscarriages happen early on, before people realize they're pregnant."

    and, in an indication of what the Republicans care about, not a whisper about 

    "Despite this preventability, data from the National Vital Statistics System from 2018 to 2021 indicate that pregnancy-related mortality rates (PRMRs) have continued to climb. The reported 2021 maternal mortality rate was 32.9 deaths/100,000 live births, nearly double the rate of 17.4/100,000 in 2018."

    Meanwhile, the Biden Administration, unable to get legislation passed, promulgated an Executive Order

    OPM [Office of Personnel Management] will improve access to and quality of maternal health outcomes, especially for persons of color, by expanding the scope of covered prenatal and postpartum services, increasing reimbursement for targeted prenatal and postpartum supports, and including a broader range of service providers such as doulas and nurse midwives.

     

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