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Southern Baptists just voted to oppose IVF

People raise their hands in praise during the Southern Baptist Convention, Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at the Indiana Convention Center.
People raise their hands in praise during the Southern Baptist Convention, Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at the Indiana Convention Center. Photo: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) just voted for a resolution stating the religious denomination’s opposition to in vitro fertilization (IVF), a fertility treatment often used by same-sex couples to increase the chance of a pregnancy.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, religious conservatives have increasingly set their sights on other technology used to assist or prevent pregnancies. The Alabama Supreme Court, earlier this year, ruled that the fertilized embryos created during IVF are legally children, a move that led to several clinics stopping IVF treatments.

Meanwhile, many Republicans are working hard to counter the perception that the party is against IVF in an election year. Alabama Republicans quickly passed a law protecting clinics from liability if they perform IVF – without addressing the underlying issue of embryos being legally children – and Senate Republicans introduced a bill to protect IVF at the federal level.

Delegates from the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. voted in Indianapolis yesterday for a resolution opposing the procedure. The resolution urges members “to advocate for the government to restrain actions inconsistent with the dignity and value of every human being, which necessarily includes frozen embryonic human beings.”

It says that “though all children are to be fully respected and protected, not all technological means of assisting human reproduction are equally God-honoring or morally justified.” It goes on to say that members should “promote adoption,” including “adopting frozen embryos in order to rescue those who are eventually to be destroyed.” Adopting an embryo means that someone will have to get pregnant with that embryo.

The delegates said that their main problem with IVF is that multiple embryos are created in the process, some of which are frozen and used later, while others are destroyed if the potential parents get a pregnancy in an early round of IVF. Many of the embryos created for IVF will not be implanted.

“There is a consistent belief, as our chair has already stated, that we believe that life begins at fertilization and is to be honored and cherished and protected at all stages, no matter the stage of development, nor location,” Jason Thacker, adviser to the southern Baptist Resolutions Committee, told NBC News.

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