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Opinion: We are Colorado IVF families and the Alabama ruling should scare everyone

Both of us are IVF parents with new babies and sleepless nights. Both of us went through the pain, struggle, and emotional trauma of injections, hormonal highs and lows, anxiety over whether an embryo would develop, anxiety over whether the pregnancy would ‘take’, anxiety over whether we ever have a baby at all. And in both our cases, we had multiple embryos before having our angel children.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruling effectively banning IVF should scare everyone, because it threatens the rights of all of us to determine how to have a family. And it represents a direct threat to LGBTQ families like ours. What happens in Alabama won’t stay in Alabama.

“Fetal personhood” was once a fringe notion backed primarily by anti-abortion extremists. Now, without the safeguard of Roe, it poses a real and significant attack on our right to access family building through IVF, as well as all abortion care and many forms of contraception, such as IUDs.

And we must stay vigilant in Colorado: There was yet another attempt at a fetal personhood bill banning IVF defeated in committee in the Colorado House on March 4. Extremist groups are AGAIN talking about trying to get a fetal personhood measure on the ballot in Colorado in 2024. Fortunately, there will also be a ballot measure putting abortion rights into the Colorado Constitution, which is currently Proposed Initiative 89.

No one wants embryos to be babies more than hopeful IVF parents. But ask anyone who’s been through IVF and they’ll tell you that making embryos is just one very early step of a long process that may, hopefully, one day, result in the baby you’ve been dreaming of. Embryos are a glimmering chance for a child — but all too often, genetic abnormalities, failed transfers, and miscarriages leave hopeful parents childless. As IVF families, we know this story and heartache all too well.

IVF — and reproductive rights more broadly — is about as “pro-family” as it gets. People coming to IVF are investing so much emotionally, physically and financially to create their families. Protecting the right to build your family when you want, with whom you want, and with appropriate medical care and support is more important than ever. Alabama’s Supreme Court ruling establishing “fetal personhood” and equating embryos with living humans effectively bans IVF and threatens the dreams of countless Americans striving to have children.

The Alabama ruling, a direct result of overturning Roe, demonstrates the alarming consequences of decisions made by politicians and judges who lack relevant context and medical expertise. This is especially scary when those decisions directly impact our bodies, our health care, and our families. But it’s part of an accelerated movement nationwide stripping away our fundamental rights to decide if, when, and how to have a family.

Yes, Roe was specifically about the Constitutional right to abortion, but the Dobbs decision overturning it was the start of so much more. As we’re seeing now, it’s ultimately about whether the government and politicians have control over our reproductive choices, our bodies, or how and when we choose to build our families.

There’s a long history of political attacks right here in Colorado aimed at restricting our rights, and now more than ever we need to proactively ensure that our beloved state remains a place where reproductive freedom is guaranteed for everyone. With Roe gone, nothing is guaranteed. We need to defend and protect Colorado as a place where reproductive freedom is guaranteed for everyone.

As Coloradans, as parents who are using IVF to build our own families, and as women who fiercely believe in every individual’s right to make decisions about their own body, we’re asking you to please pay attention and vote in November to protect reproductive rights, whether it’s for a candidate or for Proposed Initiative 89.

Kristina Turczyn lives in Denver and leads product development and customer experience in the financial services industry. Kelsey Green works as an attorney in Denver.

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