Southern Baptists Vote to Oppose IVF

Messengers raise their ballots in support of a motion put up for vote during a Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Indianapolis Credit - (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

The Southern Baptist Convention signaled their disapproval of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in a Wednesday vote, asking the “government to restrain” the procedure.

The vote took place during the church’s annual two-day meeting, where delegates also voted for a new president and on whether women should be able to hold pastoral positions (the latter of which also failed to secure support).

In February, Alabama hospitals paused IVF treatments after the state supreme court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children under Alabama state law. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle signaled support for passing legal protections for IVF, though many Republicans were more tepid in their statements following the court decision.

Now, Democrats are considering a vote on legislation that would provide a right to assisted reproductive technology like IVF, per Axios. The vote would put pressure on Republican legislators reconciling their pro-life stances with possible support for the procedure in a post-Roe world. Seventy percent of Americans say that they support access to IVF—with broader support of the practice even being recorded among religious groups, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read More: Lawmakers in Both Parties Call to Protect IVF After Alabama Ruling

IVF is a medical procedure people with fertility issues undergo to facilitate pregnancy. During the process, an egg is removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a lab. The fertilized egg is then known as an embryo, and is implanted back into a person’s uterus, per the National Health Service (NHS).

Southern Baptists believe that personhood begins at the moment of conception. Following the Alabama court ruling, Southern Baptists said that they were “opposed to the willful destruction or even donating to scientific experimentation of non-implanted human embryos wantonly created in the typical IVF process” in a May 2024 press release.

The church has multiple grievances with the procedure, including the “over fertilization of eggs without a clear plan for implantation, freezing of leftover embryos, and even the destruction of these human embryos once a couple has succeeded in getting pregnant or no longer desires to keep them.” The church says that the destruction of fertilized embryos is similar to an abortion procedure.

Southern Baptists also said that the practice removes the act of procreation from the “sexual union” between a couple.

The Wednesday vote does not create a binding resolution within the Southern Baptist church, but does declare that IVF “most often participates in the destruction of embryonic human life.”

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