The Paul Ryan / Todd Akin Personhood Bill Could Outlaw In Vitro Fertilization
How intrusive into our private lives is the Paul Ryan / Todd Akin “Sanctity of Life Act?” Very:
The national battle over Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” has shed light on a “personhood” bill, co-sponsored by Akin and Paul Ryan, called the Sanctity of Life Act. Much of the chatter today has focused on whether Ryan opposes abortion in cases of rape. The Romney campaign confirmed today that Ryan does personally oppose it, while clarifying that a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose it.
But what about the other legal implications of the bill Ryan and Akin co-sponsored? In an interview just now, Dem Rep. Louise Slaughter, one of the leading pro-choice voices in Congress, raised two startling possibilities.
“One of the questions around this legislation is, Could a rapist who impregnated a victim sue that victim if she decided not to carry that baby and to have an abortion?” Slaughter said. “Another question: Could in vitro fertilization be outlawed?”
It’s unclear how this legislation would work. The bill affirms that from the moment of fertilization onward, “every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” It then says that Congress and the states have the “authority” to protect all human beings — again, defined as human life from fertilization onward — residing in their juristictions.
Slaughter’s suggestion is that this affirms the authority of Congress or the states to pass laws outlawing IVF, since that procedure requires the destruction of embryos, or that it could give legal weight to a rapist’s insistence that his victim not abort her baby — though again, it’s unclear how this would work.
“What it says is that a single cell can achieve all the protections the Constitution of the United States bestows on persons,” Slaughter said of the bill. “Scientifically the law is crazy.”
And that’s putting it politely.