The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Tai Caputo
Tai Caputo
Executive Editor and Feature Co-Editor

STAFF EDITORIAL: Restricting I.V.F. Harms Families

Reproductive rights are once again called into question in Iowa
STAFF EDITORIAL: Restricting I.V.F. Harms Families
Rosangel Flores-Rubio

In June of 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a stunning step backwards in the fight for reproductive rights. Immediately after this, states such as Alabama and Texas began to ban abortion.

Abortion laws in Iowa state that if you are fewer than or exactly 21 weeks, 6 days pregnant, you are legally allowed to get an abortion in Iowa. However, if you are past this date, unless you qualify for an exception, you may need to travel out of Iowa to get an abortion.

Exceptions are limited, and are granted only in the following cases: when the pregnant person’s life is at risk, there is a serious risk to the pregnant person’s physical health, the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy, and if the pregnancy is a result of incest and/or rape. Although this may sound good on paper, individuals who fall into these categories often have trouble being granted exceptions in real life, according to The New York Times.

Even in the rare cases when an exception is granted, some states require a waiting period before the abortion can be given. Additionally, some doctors feel that the ambiguity of the laws and threat of both civil and criminal charges make them reluctant to test these boundaries by performing an abortion.

In February 2024, adding to the fervent discourse, the Alabama Supreme Court made a controversial decision when it ruled that fertilized, frozen, embryos will now legally count as children, endowed with all the rights of any real-life child in America. The idea of “fetal personhood” actually dates back before Roe v. Wade, to the 1960s, when Catholic groups were opposing the relaxation of abortion restrictions. 

Because its origins and arguments rooted in religion, some believe fetal personhood raises concerns with the First Amendment. The First Amendment proclaims that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  Using religion to perpetuate policies and laws such as this is in direct violation with the established separation of church and state, and should be done away with.

Banning abortion was a terrible step backward in the history of human rights. Fetal personhood goes even further: it claims that not just fetuses, but embryos, are people, and deserve exactly the same rights as people. Those who argue for fetal personhood often root their arguments in the 14th Amendment, which states that U.S. citizens will be protected under the law. They argue that fetuses and embryos deserve to be protected in the same ways that people are.

The 14th Amendment states, “All persons born or naturalized* in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 

The plantiff’s case in the Alabama ruling cited the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, which dates back to 1872. At the time the law was introduced, I.V.F. did not exist. 

The Act states, “When a child dies because of another person or party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the law enables the parents and family members to seek justice by holding that person accountable.”

After the Alabama ruling, several I.V.F. clinics all over Alabama ceased treatment, citing concerns of civil and criminal liability. Since I.V.F. involves the storage, transportation, and sometimes destruction of embryos, the idea of fetal personhood directly contradicts the practice. This concerns people who will, and are currently going through I.V.F., because it puts another roadblock in their journey of having children and starting a family.

According to the Mayo Clinic, I.V.F. (in-vitro fertilization) is a medical procedure that allows a couple to have biological children by fertilizing several eggs in a test-tube. It is often used as a solution to infertility or as a way of bypassing specific genes, such as hereditary diseases, that parents don’t want to pass on to their children.  

According to the National Library of Medicine, over 10 million babies have been born worldwide through the use of I.V.F. 

Both conservative and liberal politicians agree that banning I.V.F. will not benefit anybody. Furthermore, the majority of Americans, 86%, believe that I.V.F. should be a protected right, according to a poll from CBS News/YouGov

As the national debate over abortion has extended to include I.V.F., these new and concerning laws promise nothing but harm. The policies that come with are not only extremely harmful to those wanting to start a family, but society at large as well. Although we as a society have developed technological tools such as I.V.F. to help others, we are ultimately still at the mercy of the whims of a small and selfish minority.

*Naturalized means that a person was allowed to become a U.S. citizen after previously not being one. 

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About the Contributors
Tai Caputo
Tai Caputo, Executive Editor and Feature Co-Editor
Tai has been to public schools in three different countries. She enjoys eating spicy foods.
Isabella Young
Isabella Young, Opinion Co-Editor
"Shake it off"
Rosangel Flores-Rubio
Rosangel Flores-Rubio, Executive Editor
DALE
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