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Questions raised by the draft US Supreme Court decision on abortion
The overturning of Roe v. Wade will affect not just people who want to terminate a pregnancy — but those who want to carry one as well.
Last week, a leaked document revealed that the US Supreme Court is poised to overturn that country's longstanding abortion law. Below, some of the many questions this raises for users of assisted reproductive technology.
3 minute read
What will it mean for me if my state considers my embryo a "person"?
If my state considers an embryo a person, but my embryo is stored in a state that doesn't, is my embryo still considered a "person"?
Should I move all my embryos to a state that doesn't deem them to be persons?
Should I do that right away?
Will I be able to leave my state to do my fertility treatment in a non-personhood state?
Will I be able to leave my state to do a "selective reduction" there?
What happens when I come back?
What happens to the friend who drives me?
Will it still be legal to freeze embryos?
Will it still be legal to discard embryos?
What will happen if I do?
And what will happen to the person actually discarding the embryo for me?
Will anyone be willing to discard an embryo for me?
Can I discard my embryo in another state even if my own state considers it murder?
Is it true that in some states only embryos in uteruses are under threat, and the ones in the fertility clinic freezer are safe?
Is it true that as long as I'm trying to create a baby, and fulfilling my role as a mother, that embryo destruction may not be a biggie?
Will I still be able to do genetic testing on an embryo?
Will I still be able to transfer the "best" embryo?
If aneuploid embryos are "non-viable," will they be exempt from all this?
Will "non-viable" even be a thing?
Is it true that in some states, it's illegal to have an abortion after a diagnosis of Down syndrome?
If my IVF leads to triplets, will I still be able to do a "selective reduction"?
If my IVF leads to ectopic pregnancy, will I still be able to terminate?
Let me be more clear: if my pregnancy is going to kill me, will I still be able to have an abortion?
If I miscarry, will I become a suspect?
Will my embryo be able to sue me?
Can I sue it?
If my surrogate needs a "selective reduction" and she lives in a state where abortion is legal, but I live in a state where it's not, can she still get it?
What if my surrogate needs a "selective reduction" and she lives in a state where abortion is not legal, but I live in one where it is... can she come to my state for that?
Is it unwise to engage a surrogate in a state that criminalizes abortion?
Will some states try to criminalize IVF?
Is gay parentage under threat?
Given "aiding and abetting" laws, will counsellors in personhood states even be allowed to discuss abortion and reduction with their clients?
Can counsellors from non-personhood states safely counsel clients in personhood states?
Where does informing end and "aiding and abetting" begin?
Given "aiding and abetting" laws, if my parents help pay for my treatment, and my treatment includes "selective reduction," could they get in trouble?
Should I transfer really poor quality embryos along with my one good embryo, so I don't have to throw the bad ones out and risk prosecution?
Is transferring an embryo during my non-fertile period considered "discarding"?
Will the state compel me to offer my unused embryos for "adoption"?
Will I be allowed to keep my unused embryos frozen for eternity?
If my husband and I divorce and he wants to use the embryos and I don't, will the court side with him?
Should everyone just freeze eggs and embryos separately from now on?
Should we only fertilize one or two eggs at a time from now on?
How much more will this all cost?
Is it safe to use an online period tracker anymore?
Should I delete my data right away?
Is my data stored forever in some cloud?
Could someone put my menstrual cycle data together with location tracking data?
Could someone sell this data to the authorities?
Will someone get rich from selling this to the authorities?
Could tracking data about my fertility be subpoenaed, even from companies who promise to not sell it?
Will the details of my menstrual cycle remain private so long as I don't upload it somewhere, or...?
Are we really talking about this?
Katie Watson. "Changes in abortion law and its potential impact on ART." Mental Health Professional Group - Connections Call. 09 May 2022.
Janneke Parrish. "Three weeks ago, I had a miscarriage..." Twitter. 09 May 2022.
Katie Krashel. "Roe has long protected the fertility industry..." Twitter. 05 May 2022.
Elizabeth McLaughlin. "If you're using an online period tracker..." Twitter. 03 May 2022.
Natalie Crawford. "This will not end at abortion..." Twitter. 03 May 2022.
Susan Crockin. "Legally Speaking: What's new in ART law?" Jefferson Infertility Counseling Conference. 27 Apr 2022.
Rich Vaughn. "Attacks on Roe v Wade threaten Americans' rights to fertility treatment." Abortion Law. 20 Dec 2021.