The coming war over in vitro fertilization.

Science, technology, and life.
June 3 2005 12:12 PM

Leave No Embryo Behind

The coming war over in vitro fertilization.

(Continued from Page 1)

Some pro-lifers have already decided. Louisiana has outlawed the intentional destruction of "a viable in vitro fertilized human ovum." A bill in Kentucky would make it a felony to "fertilize more than one (1) egg" during IVF. Five days ago, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., suggested that the United States should follow countries that "limit the number" of eggs fertilized in vitro to "one or two at a time." DeLay wants medical associations to require pre-emptive counseling of couples about creating and abandoning leftover embryos. Failing that, he warns that Congress's "next step is to look at" the issue. Thirty states already mandate counseling or waiting periods for abortion. The logical thing to do, if you think embryos deserve the same respect, is to mandate counseling and waiting periods for IVF.

Bush's views about embryos—that all are real human lives, and none are spares—put him squarely on this path. Still, he resists. Last week, a reporter asked him whether IVF parents "have an obligation to ensure that [their embryos] are brought to term." Bush changed the subject to public funding of stem-cell research. Another reporter asked White House spokesman Scott McClellan whether Bush thought leftover embryos whose parents refused to put them up for adoption "should just be held forever." "No, that's the choice of the parents," said McClellan, adding that Bush "supports in vitro fertilization."

Advertisement

I've heard these assurances before. Twenty-seven years ago, a guy running for Congress in Texas said the government shouldn't pay for abortions but should otherwise leave the decision to women and doctors. That guy was George W. Bush. Look how far he's come on abortion, and you'll see where he's going on IVF.

Correction, June 6, 2005: The article originally said the percentage of leftover embryos put up for adoption was less than the percentage donated to stem-cell research. Actually, it is less than the percentage donated to all (not just stem-cell) research. ( Return to corrected sentence.)

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 1:38 PM Mad About Modi
 Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.

  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 12:42 PM How to Save Broken Mayonnaise
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 11:55 AM The Justice Department Is Cracking Down on Sales of Spyware Used in Stalking
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.