Anti-abortion activists arrested saying they are going after IVF and contraception rights in a few years

Leaked audio from a meeting of anti-abortion activists in Tennessee, which currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country, has revealed that the anti-choice movement may begin seeking IVF and contraception in the coming two years.

Sound, obtained by ProPublica, is from a webinar for Republican legislators conducted by the Tennessee subset of the National Right to Life organization, as well as Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

During the conversation, state Rep. Susan Lynn (R), who sponsored Tennessee’s abortion ban, asked what to do about in vitro fertilization (IVF), which many worry may be the next target of the anti-abortion movement.

In response to Lynn, the speakers on the call suggested waiting a bit before attacking IVF.

“Maybe your group will reach a point next year, two years from now, three years from now, where you do want to talk about IVF and how to regulate it in a more ethical way, or deal with some of those contraceptive issues,” said Stephen Billy, vice president of state affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. “But I don’t think that’s the conversation you need to have right now.”

During the IVF process, which is used by some same-sex couples to have children, it is common to fertilize more than one egg to maximize the chances of successful IVF treatments. Once the person receiving IVF is pregnant, the extra fertilized eggs are usually discarded. As such, those who believe that life begins with fertilization are likely against IVF, a process many LGBTQ couples rely on to have children.

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Like Elizabeth Constance, a doctor at the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine in Omaha. saying the washington post in May, “There are concerns about whether there will be repercussions related to embryos not surviving in the laboratory. What about the ones that are put in the uterus and don’t implant? All of that is in a gray area.”

Shelbi Day, policy director for the nonprofit Family Equality, saying LGBTQ nation in June that “without the protections of Roe vs. Wadestate legislators may feel empowered to create barriers to people accessing medical procedures like IVF, which is deeply concerning to LGBTQ+ people and anyone who needs access to IVF to expand their family.”

And as Cathryn Oakley, a lawyer for the Human Rights Campaign, saying NBC News, “If the law believes that human life begins at conception, that means those embryos in the petri dish are legally people. That would make it impossible for IVF to really work.”

And while the timeline is unclear, it seems IVF is definitely on the radar of anti-choice activists.

Following the annulment of the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade, Tennessee has essentially outlawed abortion entirely. The law focuses on the consequences for doctors who perform abortions and will not prosecute pregnant people who seek them. Its harsh language makes performing an abortion a felony and has no exceptions for rape, incest, or even the life of the pregnant person.

The text states that doctors can break the law and perform an abortion to save the life of the parents, but then have the burden of proving that it was medically necessary to do so.

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“The law will make the doctor guess at your medical training and experience when choosing a treatment plan or risk criminal conviction for a felony.” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, when the law went into effect. “Now, hospitals and lawyers will weigh life and death scenarios.”