From violent protests to attacking reproductive health facilities, anti-abortion activists across the country are trying all they can to infringe on people’s rights. But banning abortion is not going to be where they stop. Several doctors have expressed fear that after abortion policies, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be the next target, and they were right. Leaked audio confirms that some anti-abortion activists do plan to target fertility treatments. According to audio obtained by ProPublica, in at least one state—Tennessee—abortion activists are pressuring to uphold an abortion ban and target other reproductive rights.
The audio, including representatives from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, is from a webinar last month hosted by Tennessee Right to Life for state GOP lawmakers.
“I implore you, please don’t say we only cast this law because we never thought Roe was going to be overturned,” one person in the recording said.
Per the audio, anti-abortion activists wanted state lawmakers to keep the state’s current abortion ban in place with no exceptions.
As of this report, the ban is one of the strictest in the country—no specific exceptions are allowed. However, doctors can plead their case if they conduct an abortion under the premise that a mother’s life was in danger. Those who are unable to do so and perform an abortion can face a felony that carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000, ProPublica reported.
“A doctor can make their case that what they did is justifiable,” said state police director Katie Glenn with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America on the webinar. “So, it’s not that they didn’t violate the text of the statute, it’s that they have a justifiable reason to do so, and that reason you’ve defined very narrowly is to save her life. To prevent an organ system from failing.”
With the real-world implications of the laws settling in, some lawmakers, even Republicans, have expressed the need to “clarify” the ban and offer exceptions, including rape, incest, severe fetal anomalies, and cases where the pregnant patient’s life or health are at risk.
However, anti-abortion activists want lawmakers to go further.
“Maybe your caucus gets to a point next year, two years from now, three years from now, where you do want to talk about IVF,” SBA Pro-Life America VP of State Affairs Stephen Billy said in response to questions about other restrictions, like regulations on IVF and contraception. “And how to regulate it in a more ethical way, or deal with some of those contraceptive issues. But I don’t think that’s the conversation that you need to have now. I would not recommend having it now in the context of your current ‘pro-life’ law.”
During the meeting, the group discussed released model legislation suggesting the want of similar language adopted across the country, “not weakened by exceptions.”