In New Push for “Personhood,” Arizona Anti-Choicers Push Bill to Track Every Embryo

An Arizona group seeking to establish legal personhood for fertilized eggs and embryos is proposing a new way for the state to keep tabs on the personal reproductive decisions of its citizens: Embryo tracking.
A bill quietly wending its way through the Arizona legislature would create a database to track every embryo in the state created through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), defined in the bill as: “Any procedure, treatment or medical or scientific intervention provided for the purpose of formation of a human embryo with the intent to produce a live birth.” It has nine Republican co-sponsors.
The proposed legislation, (SB 1376), was written by the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which bills itself as “Arizona’s leading pro-life, pro-family organization.” CAP pushes anti-choice legislation (including legislation to confer the full rights of personhood on fertilized eggs), opposes gay marriage, and seeks to promote “religious freedom.” 
CAP also opposes the practice of assisted reproductive technology for couples or individuals struggling with infertility, and so their answer is to pry into the lives of those seeking such assistance and making all details of their medical treatment public. Similar to portions of SB 1361, another bill from the 2012 legislative session, this newer bill seeks to capture and make publicly available information on the disposition of every embryo created in the process of in-vitro fertilization, and the results of every treatment involving ART.  The information required is largely redundant to the statistics and information submitted to the CDC, most of which is publicly available.
According to a source who works in communications in Arizona but spoke to us without attribution, “each legislative session since 2010 we have seen bills seeking to eliminate or reduce the ability of Arizonans confronted with infertility to utilize ART to build their families. These attempts have always included severe penalties for the physicians who treat these patients in our state.” CAP, according to the source, also has been:
“…trying and failing for full personhood that would ban abortion by, basically, making doctors and women guilty of murder.  They have failed to date, thankfully, which is why CAP has altered their approach. Instead of coming after personhood head on, they are now taking smaller steps that seem somewhat innocuous. In addition to the redundant and unnecessary reporting, much of which is already required by the CDC, this is merely the beginning of a constant chipping away at the choices available for Arizona families. 

“The bill,” noted the source, “is so poorly written and vaguely constructed that no one can say for sure how such a database will be used to go against doctors and even women later.”

Calls to both supporters and opponents of the bill were not returned as of this writing because of the federal holiday.

If passed, SB 1376 would threaten the practices and licenses of reproductive endocrinologists in Arizona. Failure to file reports or filing a false report on embryo creation, transfer, destruction, or movement from one facility to another would be a criminal act and result in an automatic determination of an act of unprofessional conduct. Facilities that violate the requirements are subject to discipline by the state Department of Health Services and also to civil penalties.

This bill requires all “ART” facilities to report annually (either electronically or in written form) the following information to the State Department of Health Services, which in turn would make it publicly available:

  • Total number of live births achieved
  • Rate of live births per transfer
  • Percentage of live births per completed cycle of egg retrieval
  • Percentage of transferred embryos that implant

Information regarding the safekeeping of embryos including:

  • Number of embryos formed
  • Number of embryos transferred
  • Number of embryos preserved
  • Number of embryos deemed not viable for transfer or preservation and destroyed
  • Number of embryos deemed not viable for transfer or preservation and used for training
  • Number of embryos not deemed viable for transfer or preservation and used for research
  • Number of preserved embryos destroyed
  • Number of preserved embryos used for research
  • Number of preserved embryos donated to any person for research
  • Number of embryos donated to another individual for transfer
  • Percentage of pregnancies resulting in multi-fetal pregnancies broken down by number of fetuses
  • Percentage of live births having multiple infants
  • Number of selective reductions performed, broken down by number of embryos transferred before the reduction
  • Percentage of selective reductions resulting in miscarriage
  • Percentage of birth defects per single and multiple births

Penalties for non-compliance include:

  • Failure to file a report results in automatic determination of an act of unprofessional conduct
  • Filing a false report is a Class 1 misdemeanor (just below felony in the law)
  • In addition to individual penalties, any organization or facility that violates the reporting requirements is subject to discipline by the Department including civil penalties.

Apart from intruding on the decisions of couples or individuals struggling with infertility, SB 1376 seeks to achieve other means, including intimidating doctors who practice assisted reproductive technology and eventually to shame those who rely on it to become pregnant, as well as a stepping stone to establishing “personhood” for fertilized eggs and embryos. 

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  • Keiko Zoll

    Seeking clarification – you write that this bill could “eventually to shame those who rely on it to become pregnant.” Are the provisions of the bill such that when this data is publicly released, it would then be tied to actual patient names and identities? I can’t see how that would be possible w/o being in violation of Federal HIPAA mandates.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Since when has a little thing like the legality of a law stopped the Republicans?

      • Eden Murphy

        Especially AZ republicans. Nicolae Ceausescu would be proud of this merry band of assholes and their rabid zeal for state run forced breeding programs.

    • wolfendenpackleader

      Keiko, several years ago under G.W.Bush, a group of anti-abortionists from New York had already obtained the medical records of women in Michigan – my state-and who had had an abortion and demanded that they be allowed to go looking for underage females who obtained abortions so they could harass ? guilt them ? A judge struck it down and did not allow them to do so. But the fact that the HIPPA act was several years old was shocking. These people are insane and if you are a woman in America today, you no longer are a free person, everyone else can control your reproductive system but you, the one whose body it is in and who physically owns it.

  • Wisconsin Wit

    To the tune of “Climb Every Mountain”:
    Track every embryo,
    Protect every egg,
    Probe every vagina,
    Zygotes reign supreme!

  • NavyBlues05

    Gee, what’s next? Puberty registration?

    • HeilMary1

      Tampon funerals, zygote death sympathy cards, and mandatory forensic evidence collection panties for all fertile women.

      • wolfendenpackleader

        I love you comment, it made my morning.

      • Ruthe Olmsted

        Hallmark would love to hear from you concerning zygote sympathy cards, Christmas cards are becoming a thing of the past, this could be the card industries salvation.

  • sj64

    HIPPA. This is in direct violation.

    • Chelsea Frost

      You’re goddamn right it is! But that’s ok, they believe they are above and beyond the law.

      • Stevi ForLabor

        AZ just lost a lawsuit to Planned Parenthood for their overreach. They don’t care that they are wasting taxpayer money on bills they KNOW will not hold up in court (or reasonable minds)

  • Nancye Kirtley

    That is so stupid…They have clearly gone insane. This is way too much invasion into people’s personal lives, for one..and who is gonna pay for all this additional manpower and technology..This is really dumb for a state that can’t keep up with it’s resident’s medical needs I hope they don’t expect the rest of us to pay for this circle jerk..

    • Corey Turner

      Well, I am assuming that this is for people who have the money for IVF. Some, like Mitt Romney’s son, have plenty of money to do this, and then others have to refinance their homes and go broke just for the chance to have a child. If this organization that helps to draft the legislation thinks that IVF is a sin (because that is good for policymaking), I’ve gotta think that this is all about pushing costs up in order to make it unattainable for most people. Just like making sure that width of hallways are a certain size and there are so many water fountains in a building is about trying to force abortion clinics out of business because they can’t afford renovations.

    • Stevi ForLabor

      Same group that resisted funding KidsCare. You know… medical care for poor CHILDREN!!

    • Patricia Foxall

      Eventually a circle jerk will be illegal for the crime of Onanism… has anyone else read The Handmaid’s Tale? It’s coming quickly to a (former) republic near you.

  • radsenior

    The only people who have all the responsibility for embryos are the two conceiving that embryo. No one else has any responsibility or say in what happens to that embryo period. Excessive waste of public money to “track embryos” is stepping way over the bounds of political ethics. People who have been in office for longer than two terms should be voted out of office. Absolute power corrupts. That is what has happened here. Term limits should be vigorously enforced by vote should career-types seek further and future offices in every state in the nation. Ask your Senator and Representative where they stand on getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions which have benefited those with money and influence. Get registered, vote, and get out the vote! We well know the truth of the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people and the concentration of power in stricter, less compassionate hands. “Sweep your state Capital CLEAN….in 2014” “Sweep the House CLEAN….in 2014” “Sweep the Senate CLEAN….in 2014”

    • Stevi ForLabor

      How do people like this keep getting voted in? Poor education system and low information voters. What do these legislators do when they get into office? Cut education funding, attack teachers and science curriculum, and construct barriers to voting. And so it continues and just over 1/2 of AZ voters never learn….

      • HeilMary1

        It’s a spoiled pedophile priest conspiracy to dumb down and shame everyone else into dangerous overbreeding to restock the priests’ supply of fresh victims.

      • Eden Murphy

        Here in AZ only 53% of the registered voters actually got off their asses and voted last election day. That is a big part of the problem here. The margins by which the lunatics win in this state are typically pretty small.

      • radsenior

        Talk on the streets and boots on the ground must be the next wave to make waves. If you are interested in making your state a more viable and progressive state, join your local democratic party and get others to go with you to meetings. Get involved locally and get others to do the same. Many poorer and uneducated do not have the resources or motivation to vote. Pound the pavement with your buddies and talk it up everywhere you go. 2014 and 2016 will be critical in getting America back from the TEA-quest-traitors and combative parasites who protect the super rich from paying their fair share of taxes. You can’t rely on others to do the job – You will have to get involved! The TEA party fanatics know this and they will be out in force both election cycles. It is at the local and state level where the greatest power and control is exerted. “Sweep your state Capital CLEAN….in 2014” “Sweep the House CLEAN….in 2014” “Sweep the Senate CLEAN….in 2014”

    • wolfendenpackleader

      but almost all of the pregnancy, vagina, abortion fetus, crap started in full blown crazy mode Jan.2011, the new teabaggers who won election in Nov 2010. Before that they complained about it to keep some religious groups happy, but the so called taxed enough already party is really the anti women, pro fetus, anti-child as they have cut finding and safety nets that poor people need to care for all those babies they are forcing to be born.

  • Eden Murphy

    I saw an awesome comment left on a Huff Po story about the North Dakota personhood bill by a man who said “Just let me know when I should register my testicles as a school bus.” Thought I’d share…

    • Dawn9476

      The ND law is awful. It prevents a woman, who is cancer free, from using IVF to start a family. That is just heartless.

    • T.L. Sutton

      Yes, fantastic comment! And another one I saw: You can’t spell ‘crazy’ without R-AZ

      • Stevi ForLabor

        Love it – so true.

    • HeilMary1

      “Just let me know when I should register my testicles as a school DISTRICT.”

      There! — I fixed it for him!

  • Nora Miller

    Do women need to start mailing in their menstrual blood, in case it contains a castoff embryo? This bill comes from the mind of someone truly mentally deranged, not to mention pompous, arrogant, and holier-than-thou.

    • wolfendenpackleader

      Nora: If they have not thought of it yet. They will have daily visits with every female capable of menstruating every day of her life from start to finish of her fertile years, no age limit in America. If they think they have a positive result, a monitor will be inserted inutero like the RFID chips and if there is any intrusion into the area of a potential future human, the pregnancy police will swoop in with SWAT teams, guns a blazing, bash in your doors and drag the suspected female off to those FEMA camps for the duration of her pregnancy.

      In the early 1970’s I read a magazine-wish I still had it- Omni- which had a futuristic story of how women will have a device put into her by a doctor if she found out to be pregnant. The woman will not even know it is there as government does not want people to know. But when the woman’s body starts the early stages of labor, a law enforcement squad comes to the home and takes the women away to a secret location until after the baby is born. Can’t remember the rest of the story. But the cover of the magazine showed a pavilion and a UFO on it..

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  • Kristy Cole

    I thought this was an “Onion” article at first…

  • Chelsea Frost

    Seriously, what the fucking hell? Fuck these ignorant assholes.
    So every egg in every girl will get counted when she is born, and the government will keep track of her periods and investigate her for murder every month? I suppose a woman who has a stillbirth will go to jail, now to.

    • HeilMary1

      Along with all fertile women who drink abortifacient holy wine at church services and caffeinated beverages at home, offices and restaurants! Who knew Catholic masses and office coffee machines were “baby killing” orgies?

      • Chelsea Frost

        They would no doubt throw mothers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome children in jail.
        I doubt it’ll stop there. We know that folic acid deficiencies contribute to neural tube defects. If the woman has a fetus that dies from a neural tube defect, they’ll probably send her to jail for not eating a proper diet.

    • wolfendenpackleader

      The Late Teabagger representative from Georgia, Bobby Franklin* wanted women who miscarried to receive the death penalty, after the FBI and local police investigated the fetalcide case. If the woman could prove she was not involved with the miscarriage, they might let her live, but hey, simply being pregnant makes the pregnant woman involved with that pregnancy, so therefore, she gets to die if the tea party republicans have it their way. BTW doctors still do not know why about 90% of the miscarriages happen, act of God. I did not think they could become any crazier but I was wrong. Another teabagger congress critter in another state about the same time wanted women to spend the rest of their lives in prison if they gave birth to a defective fetus. Never mind that if you have an ultrasound or other testing and it shows a defective fetus, women are still denied the legal medical procedure know as abortion.

      * Bobby Franklin died in July 2011 cause of death mystery. Perhaps his wife-if he had one- finally had it with him and took care of the problem-a retro-active abortion at age 56.

      • HeilMary1

        As women age, they increasingly miscarry. The rate approaches 100% in their forties. Fetal idolators would have to ban sex with women over age thirty. They would also have to criminalize abortifacient caffeine beverages and holy wine at Catholic masses.

  • Dawn9476

    LOL. So called “free market” worshipers want to invade the privacy of couples, who want to use the free market to get pregnant. I am so shocked that they would do this. Shocked.

  • Maryanna Price

    Women lost the right to abortion the day Hyde was passed. Everything since has just been the natural consequence of finding “common ground” on women’s personhood.

    • HeilMary1

      And someday we’ll probably discover that Hyde made his mistresses get abortions!

  • suzi2

    Soon, sperm will be granted personhood and sperm banks will be too big to fail.

    • HeilMary1


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  • wolfendenpackleader

    Promoting religious freedom. Really ? And all of this BS is beyond insanity. America is a PREGNANCY POLICE STATE. And how do those asshol-s in the Republican Tea Party have the nerve to stand up on the news and say there is no war on women or else they blame it on the Democrats or Liberals. Liberals would never come up with emotional or religious based demands from the radicals on the right, forcing new laws against a womans right to control her own body, own her own body and decide when is the right time to have a child or not. I am so disgusted with the only thing the republican tea party works on and passes is anti women legislation. If they put 1% of the effort they have done in the last 4 years, but especially the last 25+ months to what really is important like jobs that pay a living wage rather than trying and in Wisconsin succeeding in paying women less money while seeing to it that more people in America end up in poverty and then forcing unwanted and unaffordable babies into the mix, they are certifiable. They could fix the Republican destruction of the postal system, something that almost everyone uses. instead, they are trying for the 34th time to repeal the ACA, cut all safety nets, cut the programs that added not 1 cent to the debt, but it benefits those who paid into it their working lives like Social Security, Unemployment and Medicare. But no, lets steal that away from the people who need it the most to give to the rich and lets make more poor and desperate people, we have more wars to make and we need more meat for the grinder.

    Since these idiots want to charge women and doctors with murder, what about charging all those who have killed millions and millions of people in the illegal wars the Republican Tea Party has done and plans to create more death camps called war for our children. It is better to not give birth to them in the first place and after educating and raising your children for 18 years, that the jobs are gone and the ONLY jobs are in wars for the rich. Isn’t that murder also ? SO what is better to stop something that is not viable to begin with or else have it, waste all that time, money and emotions for about 2 decades to end up with a grave for all the efforts.

    Until these insane people demand an end to all wars they should never be allowed to dictate laws in this country.

  • wolfendenpackleader

    Makes you wonder when it will be illegal for a female to remain in a state of not being pregnant at all, will be outlawed ? Age makes no difference to these people. I feel it is coming down the road.

    The MAIN THING that these crazies have neglected big time is to make certain THAT EVERY CHILD IS A WANTED CHILD. What ever happened to quality over quantity ?

    • HeilMary1

      I fear the Evangenitals will copy my mom by disfiguring “sinful” women to impose abstinence by default. They will also set up gender apartheid concentration camps as my mom recommended for “oversexed” impoverished Indian married couples. That’s what the Nazis did to punish and prevent “unlawful” sex by MARRIED “vermin” (Jews, Roma, feminists, union members, disabled, etc.).

  • Pissed of infertile girl!

    As a resident of Arizona and one who struggles with infertility and has been treated via ART, as well as having a frozen embryo in storage, this is no bodies damn business unless I want it to be their business. What the hell happened to HIPPA??? I bet not a damn one of these individuals has ever been faced with the pain and suffering that comes with dealing with infertility, because if these bastards did they wouldn’t even be considering this. I hate, HaTe, HATE politicians. They can all go F themselves.

    • Paula Sullivan

      I’m so sorry you have to go through that. I wish you all the best.

  • Pissed of infertile girl!

    So I can’t spell….lol :) I’m a Pissed OFF infertile girl!

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  • RobinQ

    Don’t you just love the brand of freedom under which we live? Freedom and control cannot rule simultaneously.

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  • T Cheryl McComb

    Whoa…..Welcome to Gilead.

  • Ric Gerace

    Arizona: Where reason, intelligence, and freedom go to die.

  • Tracy Feldstein

    Good thing Republicans don’t believe in a Nanny State… Oh, wait… This a literal definition of Nanny State, isn’t it?

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