You’ve seen the memes, heard the “zingers,” and probably even exchanged your own play on words about Big Bird, the 47%, or the binder. But what have we heard from the presidential candidates on the topic of infertility – their views, their stands, where they draw the line in the sand? Very little. And my attempts at using Google to find a neat answer proved fruitless. So over the next three weeks as we head toward election day, I’ll be taking up some time here on the blog to talk about some of the important issues related to the cause of infertilites. Today’s post will start with abortion, and how that very public and long-standing debate could shed light on decisions affecting infertility treatments.
Please note that while I’ll do my best to research information and present facts from an unbiased view, I can’t say I won’t let my opinion leak out here and there. An open, transparent, and respectful discourse is what we need in this country, so please leave comments and I promise to moderate them fairly.
Our catastrophically polarized and, at times, completely immobile nation stops the public discourse of women’s health at the old standby, abortion. In this venue, we can neatly sum it up that Democrats are pro-choice, Republicans pro-life. The VP debate left abortion and women’s rights to the ending minutes of the debate, referencing each candidate’s Catholic faith and asking them to reflect upon their positions. Representing the larger dichotomy currently tearing the Catholic Church apart internally, Biden clings to the social justice side while Ryan sticks to the preservation of life side. But regardless of their personal beliefs, we at least discovered a fundamental difference in how these two men – and ultimately, parties – would handle the question on the national level. Biden stated very clearly he would not legislate his religion; overthrowing Roe v. Wade as some conservatives are aiming to do, would essentially be doing that.
Wait a minute: I thought the Republicans were all for personal liberty and keeping the federal government out of citizens’ lives?
So okay, you’re probably thinking, I don’t really care about abortion because I can’t get pregnant anyway. Let me then continue down the religious road for a minute here, and again I’ll be sticking with just the VP candidates because we have clear records of their stands from the debate. Both men claimed to adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church and their decisions about when life begins (at the moment of conception) and all that. Attention infertilites, do you know where your personal religion or faith stands when it comes to seeking infertility treatments, including medications, IUI, and IVF? If you don’t and having that support of your faith through this soul-searching time is important to you, there is no time like the present to do a little Google searching yourself. Go ahead, this blog post will still be here when you get back.
I know where my Church stands. Both my husband and I happen to be Catholic. And when we started discussing options like Clomid, we looked it up, partially out of curiosity, partially to know how much we would be allowed to say to a priest without being excommunicated. Clomid, fortunately, is permitted, as is surgery to correct infertility and other medical procedures meant to enhance reproductive chances. IUI and IVF, however, are against the Church’s teachings (as are birth control pills). And the Sanctity of Human Life bill, co-sponsored by Ryan, would effectively define life as starting with conception and criminalize – yes, criminalize – the practice of IUI and IVF.
Remember when women used to run off to doctors in alleys or drive to Mexico for abortions, risking their lives because they weren’t legal in the U.S.? Now picture infertile women doing the same – this time hoping to get pregnant in the first place. How did the pendulum swing so dramatically?