Summary:

The intense “Octomom” news coverage has highlighted the moral and social problems inherent in the powerful and unregulated IVF industry. Bioethics Defense Fund attorneys have drafted “The Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act” (Ga. S.B. 169 of 2009) that will be heard in a Georgia Senate committee this Thursday, March 5, 2009.
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BDF legislation addresses “Octomom� abuses
Georgia Senate Committee to address exploitations of ART Industry

 
Media Contact:
Dorinda C. Bordlee
Vice President, Senior Counsel
Bioethics Defense Fund
(504) 231-7234
dbordlee@bdfund.org


March 2, 2009. The intense "Octomom" news coverage has highlighted the moral and social problems inherent in the powerful and unregulated IVF industry.

Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) attorneys Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee have drafted "The Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act" (Ga. S.B. 169 of 2009) that will be heard in a Georgia Senate committee this Thursday, March 5, 2009.

The scientific elements of the bill were drafted in consultation with BDF's science advisor, Dr. Maureen L. Condic, an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the department of Pediatrics.

In a WorldNetDaily column about the fertility doctor in California who transferred at least six embryos into the womb of an unmarried woman, Life Awards winner Jill Stanek reviewed the Georgia Senate bill as follows:

Now is the time for pro-lifers to introduce legislation in their states regulating IVF and with it regulating the creation and care of embryos.

There is perfect model language, introduced in the Georgia Senate last week, The Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act, SB169.

SB169 limits the number of embryos implanted to the same number fertilized, up to a maximum of 2 or 3, which will stop the practice of freezing human embryos and curtail selective reductions.

The bill defines ex utero embryos as human beings …, so court disputes must be decided in the best interest of the embryo, not either parent fighting over the embryo.

SB169 goes much further, outlawing all forms of human cloning, creation of chimeras, etc.

Stanek concludes by stating, "Importantly, the wording of SB169 attempts to take Catholic concerns about IVF into account."

BDF is grateful for the consultation and analysis provided by the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who opined that with added conscience protections and with public education on how this legislation limits violations against vulnerable human life, the Georgia bill "could be supported consistent with John Paul II's position on incremental legislation contained in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae."

A statement by Fr. Thomas Berg, L.C., Ph.D., of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person concluded that the BDF drafted bill is"an incremental approach aimed at minimizing the harm done [and] is an essential tool for undermining the greater evils in our culture."

BDF Senior Counsel Dorinda Bordlee stated, "this bill seeks to address a host of problems in addition to the currently highlighted abuse of transferring high numbers of embryos into the womb of a single, unemployed woman." Bordlee said that "the unregulated IVF industry has facilitated many abuses including destructive human embryo research, human cloning attempts and the heartbreak surrounding legal custody battles over the fate of cryopreserved human embryos when couples divorce."

Bordlee hopes that the "Octomom" story will encourage women to learn about Naprotechnology, a branch of gynecology that ethically and effectively identifies and treats the root causes of infertility to help women achieve pregnancy, rather than creating human life in the lab.

"Bioethics Defense Fund is a public interest law firm that can assist legislators in every state with bioethics legislation that respects the dignity of every human life," said BDF President Nikolas Nikas.There is no charge for BDF legal services.

Bioethics Defense Fund resources are available at www.BDFund.org.

Resources:

  • Original Bill Text: Ga. S.B. 169 of 2009
  • Statement by the Fr. Thomas Berg, LC, Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person
  • National Catholic Bioethics Center: Analysis of Ga.SB 169
  • Commentary by Dr. John M. Haas, President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center: USCCB - Begotten Not Made: A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology
  • GA Right to Life ART-related resources
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