Dear family friends of Arizona,
There's an important piece of legislation being considered in Arizona right now that I want to tell you about. SB 1376 is a (poorly and vaguely) bill written by a "pro-life, pro-family" group called Center for Arizona Policy (CAP). The bill wants to require that Arizona Fertility speciailists use a database to log the creation and use of every embryo in our state. This includes the disposition of any embryos deemed not viable for implantation through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), and those used for training or testing. This information is already collected by the CDC, and is therefore mostly redundant. The difference is that this data is tied to specific patients, and is a blatant violation of privacy. Additionally, because the bill is so vaguely wirrten, it's a legitimate concern that the information in the proposed database could be used to prosecute doctors and patients at a later date.
SB 1376 is part of a bigger agenda by CAP to attempt to establish personhood laws in Arizona. For those not familiar, personhood laws work to grant full legal rights to embryos, meaning that any demise or loss of embryos could lead to prosecution of the fertility specialist. Unfortunately, embryo loss is often a part of fertility treatment - not every embryo is viable for IVF, despite the skilled and diligent work of reproductive specialists. The same goes for "natural" (referred to as "spontaneous" in the IF and medical community) reproduction - not every embryo created spontaneously results in a birth, and we certainly don't prosecute mothers for miscarriage. Because the legal risks of practicing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in jurisdictions with personhood laws is so great for specialists, these laws effectively end fertility practices, leaving patients without accessible and safe care to build their families.
CAP may call themselves "pro-life," but they are not "pro-family." Personhood laws and the provisions of SB1376 would work to inhibit family building by preventing life to be created in the first place and shaming the couples who have to make difficult decisions in regard to their embryos. Some families rely on ART for family building, and they have a right to privacy in doing so. My husband and I would be one of them had we not chosen child free living as our end to infertility. However, this bill will affect my friends, member of my RESOLVE peer-led support group, and hundreds of thousands of other Arizonans. Please contact your local representative and State congresspeople to let them know you oppose SB 1376 and help safeguard the reproductive rights of Arizona families.
Some important links:
Keiko Zoll of The Infertility Voice
RH Reality Check
Almost a Father's letter to Senator Ward
RESOLVE's official letter to Arizona Senators