States say abortion bans don't affect IVF. Providers and lawyers are worried anyway

NBC News

By Aria Bendix
Abezikus/Getty Images/iStockphotos

Arkansas' abortion ban, which went into effect on Friday, defines an "unborn child" as starting at fertilization. That left Dean Moutos, who runs Arkansas Fertility & Gynecology, the state’s sole provider of in vitro fertilization, with questions.

The law makes no mention of IVF, but Moutos immediately wondered: Could his patients’ frozen embryos be defined as unborn children under the law? Could discarding those embryos be considered an abortion?

"I don’t know whether the people who wrote this law fully understood the downstream effects of it," he said. "But everybody across the country, including us in Arkansas, is very concerned about the potential."

In Arkansas' case, the office of state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told NBC News that the ban "has no implications for IVF treatments." Attorneys general offices in Alabama and Oklahoma said the same of their laws.

But other states have not yet clarified how far their abortion bans extend, and abortion laws don't generally address the issue of frozen embryos directly. So some lawyers and fertility clinics aren’t convinced that the new restrictions will leave the IVF process untouched.

Publish : 2022-06-30 09:58:00

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