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03/05/2009

Really love your peaches, want to shake your dumbass state senator

Dear Georgia,

Hey, if you're not too busy following NASCAR or looking at each other in surprise and murmuring, "How 'bout them Dawgs?" or finding mammal bones in candy that should by all that's holy be boneless — and I understand if you are — can you please do something about Georgia Senate Bill 169, the so-called Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act?  It's important.  If it passes, it could mean the end of effective IVF treatment for the men and women of your state.

Bad law.  Let's run the bullets:

  • It limits the number of embryos to be transferred in a cycle to two for women under 40 and three for women over 40.
  • It limits the number of eggs that can be fertilized to the number to be transferred in that cycle — two or three, depending on age, with no accommodation made for the inevitable attrition that occurs.  (Ahhhh, "nothing to transfer" — are there any sweeter words in the English language?  Besides perhaps "pro-life slips it to us backdoor-style"?)
  • No cryopreservation of embryos, a concern made moot by the previous provisions.  (I guess they want to make sure Georgia's infertile people know just how screwed they are.)
  • No destruction of embryos, also moot but a tasty little morsel to toss to the hungry conservative dogs who will gobble this bill right up.  (I am well aware that I am cementing my reputation as a black-hearted enemy of tiny frozen people everywhere by flagging this provision as objectionable, but I firmly believe in a patient's right to have her embryos destroyed if it suits her to do so.)
  • No compensation for gamete donors, a move that will dramatically decrease the number of people willing to donate.
  • No companion legislation that offers insurance coverage for infertility treatment — the only possible consolation for demanding that patients accept supboptimal treatment.

Hudgens  The bill was introduced by State Senator Ralph Hudgens (R, and I know you're shocked).  According to Hudgens, it was inspired by our good friend Nadya Suleman, who is "going to cost the state of California millions of dollars over the years; the taxpayers are going to have to fund the 14 children she has.  I don’t want that to happen in Georgia."  I beg Senator Hudgens' leave to doubt that responsible fiscal policy is his primary concern; the bill, which also declares that "a living in vitro human embryo is a biological human being," was crafted in concert with Georgia Right to Life.

If you live in Georgia, here's what you can do:

If this bill becomes law, it will result in a disastrous decline in the standard of IVF treatment in Georgia.  It will impose a financial hardship on infertile people, requiring them either to undergo multiple expensive cycles or to travel for treatment.  It will undermine the financial stability of Georgia's reproductive medicine industry.  (Do you want to be the one to tell that nice doctor there'll be no boat this Christmas?  But I kid.  I kid because I'm bitter.)  And it will be a foot firmly planted in the door for other incursions against our reproductive liberties.

Georgians, please: put down those suspiciously crunchy M&Ms and take action today.  There's not much time.


Love,
Julie

P.S. to Missouri: Heads up.  You're next.

P.P.S. to the press: Stop calling Nadya Suleman Octomom.  Jesus.  Just...GodStop.

UPDATE: The bill has been referred to a subcommittee "for more research" — asleep but not dead.  Please continue to let your legislators know how you feel for when this thing oozes back out of committee, as it could all too easily do.  Thanks.

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