Two of Texas’ most well-known anti-abortion groups — Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life — also say the state’s laws and more recent definition of abortion should not affect or inhibit IVF treatment, even if they include the term embryo.
“Abortion is, according to Texas law, causing the death of the child, who is a child of a woman known to be pregnant,” John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, said pointing to a statute the Legislature amended a few years ago outlining what counts as an abortion.
“There’s also no such thing as an abortion outside of a woman’s womb, so when you look at what’s happening in the laboratory with assisted reproductive technology, that is not destruction of an embryo,” he added.
This language likely leaves IVF treatment intact, legal scholars told the Tribune. A district attorney could decide to try to test the issue by bringing a case against a fertility doctor, said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. But he added that challenging IVF doesn’t appear to be an area “ripe” for action in the anti-abortion movement.
Seago said Texas Right to Life has concerns about the “destruction” of “excessive” embryos, particularly in medical research, but the issue is not one of its priorities for Texas’ 2023 legislative session. Instead, its priorities include enforcing existing laws against abortion and providing more support for pregnant women.
Amy O’Donnell, a spokesperson for the Texas Alliance for Life, said the group had not finalized its legislative priorities yet, but said the group supported a law passed in 2017 requiring the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to post information on its website about embryo donations to other people to promote the option.