Just like Margaret noted yesterday, William Saletan writes in Slate about the anti-abortion movement's use of Nadya Suleman's notoriety to try to change Georgia's laws to define fertilized eggs as human beings.
Saletan notes that the bill's sponsor, Georgia State Senator Ralph Hudgens, and its leading advocate, Georgia Right to Life, are both busy telling everyone that the bill is strictly designed to regulate the fertility industry — because, of course, many anti-regulation Republicans think that the only thing in America that needs regulating is your uterus. Naturally, their idea of "industry" regulation involves protecting your fertilized eggs.
S.B. 169 does limit the number of embryos you can implant in an IVF patient to two or three, depending on whether the patient is younger or older than 40. But it also does several things that have nothing to do with saving tax money or protecting women from the risks of carrying multiple fetuses. It forbids the sale of eggs or sperm, bans therapeutic human cloning, and prohibits any stem-cell research involving the destruction of leftover embryos.
It also, notably, prohibits the number of eggs that can be fertilized at any given time, since, you know, the pre-born, 20-celled children shouldn't suffer. The woman, on the other hand...
If you wanted to protect the woman, you might limit the number of embryos that could be transferred to her womb, not the number that can be created in the dish. In fact, by limiting the number that can be created, you increase her risk of complications. The fewer eggs you fertilize, the lower your chances of producing an embryo healthy enough to be transferred and carried to term. That means a higher failure rate, which in turn means that women will have to undergo more treatment cycles, with the corresponding risks of ovarian hyperstimulation and advancing maternal age.
So, in fact, the bill — if passed — would actually create more risks for women undergoing the procedure in order to prevent the creation of fertilized eggs that might not be carried to term — all in the guise of preventing harm to women.
What else does the bill do? It establishes a right to individual legal counsel for any fertilized eggs at issue in a divorce; it all but bans the destruction of unused fertilized eggs; and defines fertilized eggs as human beings (of course). And, in no small bit of irony, Saletan points out that it will turn every woman that chooses to undergo IVF into Suleman.
Oh, and if you like what Suleman did, you'll love S.B. 169. By requiring doctors to "limit the number of in vitro human embryos created in a single cycle to the number to be transferred," the bill logically requires them to transfer every embryo created. That's exactly what Suleman did.