The Corner

IVF on the Brain

When I started writing about IVF for the new issue of NR, I worried that my article (sub. req’d.) wouldn’t be very timely. My only hooks were the “octomom,” the president’s stem-cell decision and its indirect tie to the issue, and a few bits of legislation moving in the states. But suddenly there is quite a bit of talk about IVF. USA Today editorialized in favor some of the same regulations I favor. Ross Douthat and Michael Kinsley are arguing about IVF and stem cells. William Saletan is writing columns about new attempts to regulate IVF.

Kinsley is, I think, clearly mistaken in thinking that pro-lifers’ “logic in opposing stem-cell research would condemn all IVF as well.” But he is correct in saying that our logic does condemn many common fertility-clinic practices, and in saying that pro-lifers have not been sufficiently attentive to those practices. In pro-lifers’ partial defense, though, most of us were unaware of those practices until the stem-cell debate brought them into the public debate in recent years. And now that pro-lifers are paying attention, they are putting the ending of those IVF practices on their agenda. (Saletan grasps this point even if Kinsley doesn’t.) And some people who aren’t pro-life on abortion or stem-cell research seem to be joining us (e.g., the USA Today editorial board). Increased regulation of the fertility industry may not be politically impossible. Kinsley should be careful what he wishes for.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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