Braley, Ernst debate anti-abortion legislation impact image

PolitiFact, September 30, 2014
Lauren Carroll, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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[...] In-vitro fertilization practices -- when a child is conceived in a lab outside of the body -- could also be affected. In-vitro fertilization specialists often create multiple embryos for one client. After the woman conceives, the remaining embryos may be discarded. If a personhood measure takes effect, it would be illegal to dispose of these extra embryos, and the state could be obligated to find women to gestate them, said Sylvia Law, a professor of law and medicine at New York University.

So it’s not hard to imagine impacts of a personhood measure on all of the areas Braley cited -- abortion, contraception, in-vitro fertilization and a risk of prosecution for physicians. But it’s also short of a guarantee that any of these restrictions could come to pass.

Experts we interviewed said the law that Ernst sponsored is too ambiguous to predict its legal ramifications. [...]

In addition, these more restrictive policies couldn’t take effect without overcoming additional hurdles, including overturning federal law, which currently protects women’s right to an abortion, said I. Glenn Cohen, codirector of the Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard University.

"Even if it purported to have the effect Braley is worried about, the U.S. federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and trumps Iowa's state Constitution," Cohen said. [...]

bioethics health law policy i. glenn cohen public health reproductive rights