'Pro-Lifers' Don't Think Veterans Deserve In Vitro Treatments, Because 'Pro-Life'
If there is anything the Right loves to talk about, it is how much they love fetuses and also the troops. They just can't get enough of them, they say, which perhaps explains why they keep dragging us all into unnecessary wars and opposing sex education in schools.
Thus, it may surprise you to learn that congressional Democrats are having a hell of a time trying to make permanent a federal program meant to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization for veterans whose injuries in combat have rendered them infertile. And yet they are! Why? Because many forced birth enthusiasts oppose IVF treatment, on account of the fact that (unless someone wants to go full Octomom) it requires the destruction of fertilized embryos.
I will give you a moment to try and process the mental gymnastics one would need to do in order to be more concerned about the destruction of embryos than they are about war, which so often results in the destruction of non-embryonic people.
Currently, the program has to be renewed every year, and in order to qualify, veterans must be "married, straight, able to produce their own sperm and eggs and, if they're female, able to carry the baby in their own uterus."
The program is also largely opposed by Catholic conservatives who oppose IVF on the grounds that God only wants people creating children out of "a loving, sexual union," and by groups like Focus on the Family, who are concerned that if the program becomes permanent, benefits would be extended to veterans who are not married straights. Because they're assholes, they're also concerned about spending tax dollars on these treatments.
Brittany Raymer, an analyst with Focus on the Family, said the organization is hesitant to support legislation extending and making permanent the benefit, despite having "immense compassion for those military couples who are struggling to conceive due to an injury received while serving our country."
"We have numerous ethical and moral concerns relative to both IVF and surrogacy," she said in an emailed statement, including using taxpayer dollars to create embryos that might be left in a state of limbo or destroyed. The VA said it was working to provide The Associated Press with information on how much the IVF benefit costs taxpayers.
Given that we so freely used taxpayer dollars to put these troops in the situations that rendered them infertile, it just seems rude not to use taxpayer dollars to rectify the situation, or to make those tax dollars dependent on their freaking marital status or sexual orientation. Then again, I guess us lefties just love the troops more than these people do. We think our veterans and troops deserve all the reproductive rights, we think the Hyde Amendment should be overturned so their abortions are covered, and we think they should get IVF if they can't conceive due to a combat injury.
This issue is, unfortunately, not all that new. Anti-choicers have opposed IVF for veterans since way back in 1992, preferring instead that those who lost their ability to reproduce in combat pay $35,000 or more out of their own pockets if they want to have a baby:
A total of 1,549 U.S. service members sustained groin-area injuries, 599 categorized as severe, from 2001 to 2018, according to figures from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry.
Those high numbers were a factor as Congress voted to authorize IVF coverage for veterans in September 2016 for the first time, extending a benefit already available to active-duty service members. The vote lifted, at least temporarily, an earlier ban on IVF benefits for veterans secured by anti-abortion lawmakers in 1992.
While some have suggested that bullshit "personhood bills" could be used to outlaw IVF as well as abortion, it appears that politicians in office are not quite ready to go that far — at least in ways more obvious than this. Alabama state Senator Clyde Chambliss, when asked if that could happen in Alabama, assured voters that it would not, on account of how embryos are only people if they are inside of a woman they would like to see punished with an unwanted pregnancy.
As forced birthers become more and more confident that they are on the road to overturning Roe, the more many of them are feeling confident that they can take things a step further than they once did. They once felt the need to assure the rest of us that they did not even sort of want to "punish" those who have abortions, only the abortion doctors, but now they've got a law in Georgia that would do just that. It is not surprising that they are now setting their sights on IVF as well, because they apparently just feel really importantly about controlling everyone's reproductive situation, whether they want a baby or not.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse