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IVF & Alabama Abortion

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey -- a woman, note well -- signs state's strong pro-life law (MSNBC Screenshot)

The state of Alabama passed its abortion law this week, while I was in Australia. I have had no time to study the issue at all, so I’m not going to offer an opinion on it until I get back home next week. But this bit of Andrew Sullivan’s column jumped out at me:

It’s astonishing to me, for example, that the Alabama law actually exempts fetuses used in IVF procedures. They don’t need to be protected, it appears. “The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant,” explained a state senator in the debate. This is an enormous gift to pro-choicers. It really does prove that for some, this is not about human life. It’s about controlling women’s bodies. If that is revealed in a post-Roe era, the momentum will be with legal abortion.

I don’t think this is quite right, but it’s mostly right. I don’t think the inconsistency of the Alabama law can be honestly chalked up to a desire to “control women’s bodies.” I think it’s because IVF is widely used by Christians, and a consistent, logical pro-life position would outlaw it. If life begins at conception, then all those embryonic lives created in the laboratory and later discarded are human beings. This is something many Christians do not want to face.

There is no moral difference between men and women creating and destroying embryonic human life in the laboratory, and men and women doing the same in women’s wombs. Except for the matter of class — IVF in the US usually costs between $12,000 and $15,000. 

I’m not in favor of making the perfect the enemy of the good enough. But allowing a de facto abortion procedure used by middle and upper middle class people while is pretty ugly.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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