Southern Baptist Convention launches attack on IVF with radical resolution

Indianapolis, Indiana - The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the US, called Wednesday for restrictions on in-vitro fertilization – the latest move in an increasingly broad attack by the religious right on reproductive freedoms.

The Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution calling for stricter restrictions on IVF in the US.
The Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution calling for stricter restrictions on IVF in the US.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

Delegates at the Southern Baptists' annual convention in Indianapolis adopted a resolution criticizing IVF due to the fact that the procedure often results in unused embryos being destroyed.

It said the procedure "routinely generates more embryos than can be safely implanted, thus resulting in the continued freezing, stockpiling, and ultimate destruction of human embryos, some of whom may also be subjected to medical experimentation."

The delegates called on Southern Baptists to "reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being, including those in an embryonic stage" – an extreme religious interpretation of life that has no basis in science.

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They urged members to "only utilize reproductive technologies consistent with that affirmation, especially in the number of embryos generated in the IVF process."

Those planning to use IVF should "consider adopting frozen embryos," the resolution says.

The delegates also called on Southern Baptists to "advocate for the government to restrain actions inconsistent with the dignity and value of every human being, which necessarily includes frozen embryonic human beings."

IVF becomes latest target for religious right

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the US.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the US.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

With a network of tens of thousands of churches, the Southern Baptist Convention has around 13 million members, mainly in the American South.

The Southern Baptists' resolution comes as Democrats seek to make reproductive rights a key campaign issue ahead of elections on November 5.

IVF has also become a major issue following a February court ruling in deeply conservative Alabama that said that frozen embryos had the rights of children.

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Decried by Democratic President Joe Biden as "outrageous and unacceptable," the decision led to several Alabama clinics suspending their IVF programs and quickly became a national political flashpoint.

Faced with a national outcry, including pressure from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Alabama's legislature quickly moved to pass a law to protect IVF.

Seeking to raise the issue's profile, Democrats in the Senate plan to bring a national IVF protection bill to a vote on Thursday.

Republicans however are expected to block the bill, after another IVF bill introduced by their party members was stymied by Democrats on Wednesday.

Cover photo: IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

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