A Message from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine President

ASRM Pages

VOLUME 118, ISSUE 2, P279-280


Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D.


“ROE V. WADE: OVERTURNED” was the headline in Saturday’s paper. Although we “knew” it was coming after the leaked draft, seeing this, in the proverbial “black and white” of the paper, was startling. During the pandemic, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) joined our obstetrics and gynecology colleagues to submit amicus briefs to safeguard abortion access, to allow telehealth for reproductive health care and the receiving of abortion medications through mail. Many asked: why is ASRM focusing on abortion—it is not our fight—we help to make infants. As noted in a recent Fertility and Sterility Inklings (1), these are core issues for women and people with a uterus, and they can significantly impact a young person planning for their future. Additionally, the argument against our advocacy forgets our practices, and research has always been linked to the abortion debate whether we believe it to be so or not. In this context, although Dr. Santoro raised the passage of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, this was actually the conclusion of a debate to revisit the long-term de facto prohibition to embryo research. In 1980, when in vitro fertilization was still in its infancy, President Ronald Reagan disbanded the scientific advisory board that regulation required to approve, in parallel with the National Institutes of Health scientific review, to allow funding for embryo research. Without this advisory board, no federally funded embryo research could be approved or funded. Imagine the advances we could have made in the absence of this restriction. Now, the debate about when life begins, central to the abortion debate, has more critically put our work at risk (2).

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