The right-wing is frequently inconsistent in its ideology, but a new bill introduced in Ohio takes it to an extreme.
Abortion opponents frequently uphold the conception and birthing of children as a sacred act to be protected at all costs. But Ohio House Bill 704, introduced this week, works in direct contravention to that goal in a key way that seems not to have occurred to any of the Republican politicians behind it.
The bill seeks to codify "personhood" as beginning at fertilization, a long-held goal of hard-line abortion opponents that would make abortion akin to murder in any case whatsoever, and long before the state's current six-week abortion ban.
But doctors and legal experts in the state warn it would likely make fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, illegal as well because of the way the process results in high numbers of unviable embryos—or "persons" according to the bill.
Suddenly, the only method by which some are able to have children biologically—and a method popular among Republicans—would be rendered akin to murder.
IVF is an infertility treatment by which embryos are fertilized in a laboratory and implanted in a patient's uterus via a medical procedure.
The process requires a large number of embryos to be created, because the majority of embryos are unviable. In IVF, these unviable embryos are either discarded or donated by the parents to be used for research.
House Bill 704 would classify each of those embryos as a person, however--even though the embryos have no ability to even implant in the uterus, let alone grow and be born. And the discarding of such embryos could be classified as murder.
Dr. Thomas Burwinkel, an OB/GYN who specializes in IVF, explained how this definition of personhood would impact medical personnel and parents during the debate period for Ohio's proposed total abortion ban, House Bill 598.
That bill, expected to go into effect this winter, seeks to establish a similar definition of "personhood."
Of that bill, Burwinkel warned:
"The definition of 'unborn child' contained in the bill leaves us to question if discarding unused embryos would be considered a criminal act."
"Our IVF practices are having enough difficulties finding trained embryologists and physicians to work with us. If the risk of going to jail is possible doing your daily job functions, are you going to work in Ohio?"
Burwinkel also warned that the bills' definition of "personhood" would place parents in the position to either face the high likelihood of an incredibly dangerous quintuplet-or-higher pregnancy, or no pregnancy at all.
"House Bill 598 may erase the dreams of many patients of becoming parents through IVF or other reproductive technologies."
On Twitter, news of the bill left people outraged and in disbelief.
The bill's definition of personhood may also have the effect of banning certain forms of contraception, like intra-uterine devices, or IUDs, which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.