Insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Published on March 8th, 2019

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A.2817 Simotas / S.719 Savino
In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

The
above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans
to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo
transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference
opposes this legislation, as well as language proposed in the 2019-2020
Executive Budget which would accomplish the same goals.

While
the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the
joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance
mandate.  These concerns include the
legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human
embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which
promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family
relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual
intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers
and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies.

A) Destruction of Human Embryos

Many
of the assisted reproductive technologies available today, including IVF,
routinely involve the creation, freezing, discarding, and systematic
destruction of living human embryos in
order to bring one healthy child to term. Initially, the process requires the
fertilization of numerous eggs in the laboratory in order to be marginally
effective. The embryos not implanted are then either discarded immediately or
frozen for later use; many do not survive the freezing and defrosting
processes. In reality, the majority of embryonic children created by IVF procedures
will eventually end up deceased.

Practitioners
generally choose to transfer greater numbers of embryos than fewer, to increase
the chance that at least one will implant; this increases the likelihood of
multiple gestations. According to the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law
(Assisted Reproductive Technologies, April 1998, page 128), “The use of
fertility drugs and the transfer of multiple embryos into the uterus during IVF
creates a recognized risk that more embryos will implant than can safely be
carried to term. In recent years, practitioners have relied on access to ‘fetal
reduction’ – the destruction of one or more embryos so the remaining ones have
a better chance – to manage these hazardous situations.” Simply put, fetal
reduction is abortion.

The
Catholic Church views the manipulation and destruction of living human embryos
through assisted reproductive technologies as an assault on the dignity and
value of human life. Each human embryo possesses unique DNA, and need only
nutrition and the safe environment of the womb to grow and develop. Living
human embryos must not be used as a means to an end because they are, like all
precious human beings, an end in and of themselves.

B) Concerns with Assisted Reproductive Technologies

The
Catholic Church supports and assists couples in overcoming infertility through
the use of scientifically-based diagnostics, drugs and procedures that assist
marital sexual intercourse in reaching its natural procreative potential. This
type of “restorative reproductive medicine” can diagnose and resolve underlying
fertility issues and treat reproductive disorders in an effective, less
invasive, less costly manner than IVF. Restorative reproductive medicine can
markedly reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies, premature births and
miscarriages, and decrease other potential maternal complications as well.

The
Catholic Church cannot support in vitro fertilization because it separates the
natural sexual act from the conception of a child. A man and a woman supply the raw material for a technician to produce
a child, grow him or her in a nutrient culture, and insert the child into the
mother’s womb. This is done in exchange for many thousands of dollars.

IVF
procedures are an artificial means of reproduction which treat children as
merchandise to be manufactured, bought, and disposed of at will.

It is easy to see how this
mentality can lead to other abuses as well, resulting from the desire to
manufacture the best product most efficiently. Embryos produced in a laboratory
can be pre-screened for genetic defects or a predisposition to certain
diseases, or even for gender and eye color, and thrown away if they fail
quality control.

C) Lack of Conscience Protection

This
legislation contains no conscience protection for religious employers,
religious organizations or closely held for-profit employers with religious
objections to certain assisted reproductive technologies. Our Conference has
consistently and strongly advocated for the inclusion of protections which
would exempt religious institutional employers from paying for such mandates.

Conclusion

Current
law already requires health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and
treatment of infertility, but does not extend coverage to IVF, gamete and
embryo transfers. Nor does current law extend the coverage mandate to human
cloning, sterilization reversals, and experimental procedures, a policy that
would be maintained under this legislation. For all of the above-mentioned
reasons, we believe New York’s current law draws appropriate lines and we
therefore urge lawmakers to reject A.2817 / S.719.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/insurance-mandate-for-in-vitro-fertilization/

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