Assisted reproductive technology is marred with ethical and moral controversy, but under a new bill that could be passed by the Illinois House of Representatives as soon as next month, procedures such as the serial manufacturing and destruction of embryos could become “fundamental rights” for residents of the state.
Margaret Croke, the freshman state representative for Illinois’s 12th district, first introduced HB 5779 in August with the intent of debating it in the legislative veto session scheduled for November. Croke wrote in her September newsletter about using the bill to enshrine abortion and assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as serial embryo creation and destruction, as “fundamental rights” for all Illinoisans.
In that same Sept. 6 release, Croke announced the birth of her daughter and even shared a picture of the newborn swaddled in a matching blanket and bow.
“The big news from the month of August is that the 12th district gained a new constituent! My husband Patrick and I welcomed our daughter, Mary Pearl, to the family. We are overjoyed, and PJ is handling his promotion to big brother well,” Croke wrote.
In the next paragraph, Croke detailed her plans to pass the bill that would strictly prohibit Illinois from interfering on behalf of unborn babies in the womb or life created in a petri dish.
The Democrat’s legislation, specifically, seeks to amend the state’s “Reproductive Health Act,” a law granting residents on-demand abortions, to add ART to the list of “fundamental rights” all adults in the state can demand.
That technology, according to the bill text, includes in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, embryo biopsy, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (which often yields incorrect results and leads to premature disposal of viable embryos), embryo freezing (which reduces the chance of an embryo surviving), problematic procedures such as supplying egg and sperm (which preys on young adults strapped for cash), and supplying embryos.
It also includes gestational surrogacy, which involves renting the wombs of women who form an undeniable physical bond with the baby they are carrying, only to sever that connection as soon as the child is born. Surrogates also take serious health risks in undergoing pregnancy for money rather than for the love of their child and the father of the child they are carrying, as expressed in a lifelong commitment to be the child’s mother and secure the child his own father through marriage.
The bill not only guarantees anyone seeking to create a child outside of natural, biological means can do so but also strictly prohibits the government from interfering in any part of the process — except, possibly, for paying all the bills. That means the legislation would bar the state from regulating embryo creation, storage, destruction, supply, how many eggs and sperm an individual can “donate” in exchange for money, whether biological matter used for procreation can be submitted for genetic testing, and the handpicked breeding methods used to support the designer baby purchasing trend.
Under Croke’s proposed legislation, “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.” Instead, the state will be forced to use taxpayer funds to pay for Illinoisans, including naturally infertile homosexual couples and sterilized transgender individuals, to manufacture lifelong motherless and fatherless children. In embryo form, these lives could be sentenced without committing a crime to a freezer indefinitely (so long as customers pay to rent freezer space), dismembered for “research purposes,” and “discarded” as medical waste.
Despite such major ethical, humanitarian, and moral concerns about ART, the legislation clearly states that “Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions regarding the individual’s use of assisted reproductive technology” and “the individuals who use assisted reproductive technology have a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions regarding the human oocytes, sperm, and embryos used or created by those individuals during their use of that technology.”
That is specifically worded to protect the interests of adults “seeking such care and in the manner that least restricts a person’s autonomous decision-making,” not the children who will be subjected to environments that evidence-based research says sets them back physically, emotionally, and educationally and leaves them vulnerable to identity crises.
If Croke’s bill passes, children will be treated as second-class citizens subject to manufacture, sale, and distribution. After all, the “Reproductive Health Act” this bill would amend also holds that adults’ interests far outweigh the right to life of children inside and outside of the womb.
The RHA law says “fetal viability,” which may make a baby eligible for being left to die without care, is determined by the presiding health-care professionals who decide whether “there is a significant likelihood of a fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”
The law does not clarify what constitutes “extraordinary medical measures,” but as Gerald Kelly, the father of American Catholic medical ethics, noted in his 1950 book, “The Duty of Using Artificial Means of Preserving Life,” extraordinary measures are “everything which involves excessive difficulty by reason of physical pain, repugnance, expense, and so forth.”
Under Kelly’s definition, premature babies requiring extensive and expensive care in the neonatal intensive care unit could fall short of a certain doctor’s measure of viability. The fertilized eggs and embryos affected by Croke’s bill certainly do not meet the definition.