Southern Baptist Convention Votes Against the Use of I.V.F.

Delegates from the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution condemning the practice of creating surplus embryos during in vitro fertilization that could result in the “destruction of embryonic human life.”

While the resolution does not condemn the use of IVF treatment or call for governments to ban the procedure, it does denounce the common practice of creating more embryonic life than needed which ultimately leads to their destruction.

The resolution also urges members to weigh the ethical implications of the procedure carefully while also showing empathy to couples struggling with infertility.

The resolution affirms that embryos are human life from the moment of fertilization, regardless of whether they are in the womb or in a laboratory, a position identical to that of the Alabama Supreme Court in its controversial ruling in February.

The resolution encourages couples to adopt surplus embryos to prevent them from being destroyed.

The resolution also denounces the use of surplus embryos in experiments and the “dehumanizing methods” used to determine “suitability for life and genetic sorting” on the basis of genetic or parental preferences.

It calls for governments to “restrain actions” that would be “inconsistent” with the dignity of the human lives of frozen embryos. However, the resolution does not specifically cite examples of such inconsistencies.

Ethicist Jason Thacker, who advised the Southern Baptist resolutions committee, told the Associated Press that after the Alabama decision, state and federal lawmakers rushed to protect and even expand IVF without thinking about “some of the other realities at stake.”

Thacker said Southern Baptists were “not naïve” and did not think that the technology could be banned. At the same time, Thacker said it was essential for laws to respect the “human dignity” of embryonic life.

Last Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to pass a package that included Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth’s bill protecting IVF just one day after Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) blocked unanimous consent on an IVF bill introduced by Republicans Ted Cruz and Katie Britt.