by Kalyani Balagopal
The recent overturning of the landmark ‘Roe Vs Wade’ judgement raises a conundrum on the future of assisted reproduction in the country, particularly the creation of multiple embryos in In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Moreover, the impact of the judgement isn’t just limited to women. Pregnancy is something that affects intersex, transgender and non-binary folks as well, and being made to undergo unplanned or unwanted childbirth would in turn prove to be extremely harmful to their mental health and could also culminate in extreme gender dysphoria. Hence, the judgement of the US Supreme Court affects public health on a massive scale.
In states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas, discussions are underway on the adoption of personhood legislation that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception which bears profound implications on the fertility industry, specifically on the medical process of IVF. The concern lies in whether the discarding of unviable embryos could be criminally prosecuted under the understanding of an embryo having personal rights. It may also put pressure on the mother to use all the embryos created instead of disposing of the unviable ones. Not only would this lead to further financial constraints, but parents would also have to bear excessive emotional and psychological trauma because for many their one chance at having kids is being adversely affected.
Additionally, there are sincere concerns regarding the longstanding implication of this judgement on other landmark rulings that guarantee crucial civil rights with regard to LGBTQ+ communities, contraception and interracial marriages.
Ultimately, it’s up to the states to decide these laws, and patients are left with no choice but to pick out the states that have liberal reproductive laws. This still puts those who do not have the financial means at a marked disadvantage. Therefore, this judgement serves as an uncouth reminder of the question of whether religion is replacing rational thinking in lawmaking. Conclusively, this goes to show that any policy that lacks consultative discussions and foresight can have unintended repercussions that can affect a majority of its stakeholders.
Featured Image Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Blog written by Kalyani Balagopal, Research Intern at Centre for Public Policy Research.
Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of the Centre for Public Policy Research.