Welp, This Is Getting Scary

In the latest terrifying GOP anti-abortion trend, the Idaho Republican Party’s official 2024 platform appears to join Texas and North Carolina in recognizing IVF as murder. Sweet. 

Welp, This Is Getting Scary

It’s been a banner month for state Republican parties across the country as they ratify their official party platforms, and by “banner,” I mean absolutely fucking terrifying. Over the weekend, Idaho Reports reported the Idaho Republican Party’s newly approved (for the next two years), official 2024 platform appears to recognize IVF as murder. In its “Right to Life” section, the party states, “We oppose all abortion actions which intentionally end an innocent human life, including abortion [and] the destruction of human embryos.”

The platform further, chillingly says, “We affirm that human personhood begins at the moment of conception and ought to be protected and cherished from that moment on. We affirm that the intentional taking of human life through the act of abortion is murder.” It continues:

“All children should be protected regardless of the circumstances of conception, including persons conceived in rape and incest. … We support the criminalization of all murders by abortion within the state’s jurisdiction. We also support strengthening the Idaho Constitution’s declaration of the right to life for preborn children.”

As we saw earlier this year, when “the destruction of embryos” is deemed “intentionally [ending] an innocent human life,” IVF—which requires routine destruction of embryos—is effectively outlawed. In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled as much, and consequently, fertility clinics across the state shuttered their IVF services until the state rushed through a bill to offer legal protections to IVF providers. Despite this, the threats to IVF and downright frightening strides toward fetal personhood across the country have continued. 

Last week, Mother Jones reported that the North Carolina Republican Party’s official 2024 platform opposes the destruction of human embryos, effectively calling for a ban on IVF, too. In May, Texas Republican Party delegates also voted to adopt their party’s official 2024 platform, which includes recognition of abortion as homicide and fetuses as people, as well as the criminalization of IVF.

The language of the Idaho GOP’s platform is dystopian—not only does it appear to regard IVF as murder but it also explicitly calls for abortion-related criminalization that could target both pregnant people and doctors. At the same time, the platform isn’t a wild departure from the path that Republicans have been unsubtly heading down for months. As of Thursday, Senate Republicans have now thrice blocked a bill that would codify federal protections for fertility clinics to offer IVF services and for patients to undergo IVF. Back in March, House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested he’s open to policing IVF and recognizing embryos as people: “If you do believe that life begins at conception, it’s a really important question to wrestle with,” he told reporters. At least 125 Congressional Republicans are co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act, which is inherently at odds with IVF.

As for the most influential anti-abortion and religious organizations that Republican politicians often defer to in their policymaking, in February, some of these groups implored Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) not to sign the bill protecting IVF, writing that such protections “will ultimately harm these families and jeopardize the lives of precious children.” (They are, of course, referring to embryos.) Just last week, 11,000 members of the Southern Baptist Convention—the largest and most powerful Protestant denomination in the U.S.—voted to oppose IVF in a resolution that claims IVF “most often participates in the destruction of embryonic human life.”

The fall of Roe opened the door for all of this. Idaho maintains one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation, threatening doctors who provide abortion care to anyone who isn’t imminently on the brink of death—whatever that even entails—with prison time. This has led to a mass exodus of OBGYNs in the state and one hospital even shuttering its entire labor and delivery department, jeopardizing maternal health across the state. 

Apparently, this still wasn’t enough for the Idaho Republican Party.

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