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ASRM Position Statement on Personhood Measures

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is strongly opposed to measures granting constitutional rights or protections and “personhood” status to fertilized reproductive tissues. 

In a growing number of states, vaguely worded and often misleading measures are appearing either in legislation or as proposed constitutional amendments, defining when life begins and granting legal “personhood” status to embryos at varying stages of development.  If approved, these measures will have profound consequences for women and their families. 

The goal of these measures is to make abortion illegal.  However, these broadly worded measures will have significant effects on a number of medical treatments available to women of reproductive age. 

  • Personhood measures would make illegal some commonly used birth control methods.
  • Personhood measures would make illegal a physician’s ability to provide medically appropriate care to women experiencing life threatening complications due to a tubal pregnancy. 
  • Personhood measures would consign infertility patients to less effective, less safe treatments for their disease.
  • Personhood measures would unduly restrict infertile patients’ right to make decisions about their own medical treatments, including determining the fate of any embryos created as part of the IVF process.
ASRM will oppose any personhood measure that is unclear, confusing, ambiguous, or not based on sound scientific or medical knowledge, and which threatens the safety and effective treatment of patients. 

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