Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fertility clinics destroy embryos all the time. Why aren’t conservatives after them?

By Margo Kaplan August 14, WashPost,

Margo Kaplan is an associate professor at Rutgers Law School.

Last month, my husband and I signed forms donating an embryo we had conceived to medical research. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans are vowing to defund Planned Parenthood for allowing women who have abortions to make the same choice.

My husband and I used in vitro fertilization to conceive both our children. The process involved extracting my eggs, fertilizing them in a lab and implanting a healthy embryo inside me. Many patients — like my husband and me — produce more embryos (also called “pre-embryos” before they are implanted) than they can use. So clinics cryogenically freeze them until patients choose to use them in another IVF cycle, dispose of them, donate them to scientific research (which results in their destruction) or offer them to an infertile couple. After two years and careful thought, we chose to donate ours to research. We hope our choice will help doctors find cures for debilitating and fatal illnesses such as Huntington’s disease and ALS.

Like our fertility clinic, Planned Parenthood allows women to donate to medical research tissue from an embryo or fetus they will not carry to term. Like our clinic, Planned Parenthood receives no profit for this, only reimbursement for its costs (indeed, the full, unedited version of the video that sparked recent Republican outrage provides evidence that Planned Parenthood does not profit from giving women this choice).

Yet there are striking differences between my experience and that of a woman seeking an abortion. In Pennsylvania (where my fertility clinic is located), a woman seeking an abortion must receive state-directed counseling designed to discourage her from the procedure. She must then wait at least 24 hours until she can continue. In other states, women are forced to undergo unnecessary and invasive ultrasounds, watch or listen to a description of the ultrasound, and hear a lecture on how the embryo or fetus is a human life. Clinics in some states must provide them with medically inaccurate information on the risks of abortion. After all that, women often cannot have an abortion without waiting an additional one to three days, depending on the state.

(More here.)

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