Press Interview  Bioethics  Infertility

Southern Baptists pass resolution calling for strictures to curb IVF

Religion News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (RNS) — Delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting passed a resolution Wednesday (June 12) calling for more government regulation of in vitro fertilization and urging the denomination’s members themselves pursuing IVF fertility treatments to limit the number of embryos created in the process.

But the delegates fell short of calling for a ban on IVF or opposing it outright — a stance abortion foes have been agitating for since an Alabama court ruled in February that unused frozen embryos, often destroyed intentionally or inadvertently after being stored, are protected by wrongful-death laws.

Debate over unused embryos has taken on a new intensity as IVF has become a new front line of the abortion issue since the fall of Roe v. Wade

Members of the SBC’s resolution committee acknowledged that Southern Baptists have a wide range of views about IVF and said the resolution was intended to engender more in-depth conversations about the ethics of the treatment. SBC resolutions have no binding authority and are meant only to reflect the views of the messengers at the annual meeting where the resolution was approved.

But too many Christians, the committee said, use IVF without thinking about those ethics.

“We need to slow down,” said Jason Thacker, an assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, who served as an adviser to the committee. Thacker added that a long-term goal was “the end of IVF as routinely practiced” and said more regulation of IVF is needed.

Thacker is a fellow at the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which has advocated for legal restrictions on IVF. Brent Leatherwood, president of the ERLC, recently wrote to the U.S. Senate, asking for more IVF regulation.

“We urge legislators to develop and implement a system of federal oversight that protects and informs women and ensures embryos are treated with care, even as we oppose the general practice of IVF,” Leatherwood wrote.

Read the full Religion News Service article here.

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