How could the Roe v. Wade decision impact ART and IVF?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling immediately affected access to abortion care in several states. But some experts believe the repeal could lead to ramifications – intended or unintended – in other areas of reproductive health care.

The Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization doesn’t address the legality of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods. However, many fear that the imprecise language of some state laws banning abortion could restrict access to ART.

Trigger laws do not apply to Minnesota

Several states, including Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas, already had “trigger” laws to immediately ban abortion without further legislative action if and when Roe v. Wade was overturned. Wisconsin automatically defaulted to an 1849 law banning the procedure. It is important to note that Minnesota is not one of the states with any such automatic ramifications, and abortion remains legal here. Likewise, the ruling should not affect those looking to grow their families through IVF or other ART procedures here.

However, so-called “personhood” laws could bring the legality of certain IVF procedures into question for other states wanting to grant embryos, fertilized eggs, and fetuses similar rights as children. Procedures like preimplantation genetic screening of embryos, which entails the removal of some embryonic cells for testing and may occasionally result in the destruction of the embryo, could be outlawed in Texas and some other states.

Some exemptions for IVF exist

The Washington Post reports that state legislatures have passed or introduced over 80 bills in the past 12 years that address abortion and ART. Over half of the bills restricting or banning abortions included exemptions for IVF and ART. None of them banned assisted reproduction or stated that life begins at conception thus far, but in the post-Roe environment, that could easily change.

In the past year, Louisiana lawmakers voted against a bill that would have criminalized some IVF procedures. Instead, they rewrote the legislation with specific language that exempts IVF and contraception. A more recent abortion ban approved in Oklahoma makes no mention of IVF. The bill’s sponsor is on record saying the law won’t affect ART, but the language remains vague.

Navigating legal complexities in ART

Assisted reproduction already contained many complex legal considerations before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. While the full impact of the decision could take time to evolve as it relates to ART, it’s crucial to understand that it’s still a safe, effective and legal option for growing your family in Minnesota. It’s advisable to consult with a lawyer who specializes in assisted reproduction law to protect your rights.