A few days ago I pointed out some pending legislation in Georgia and offered a few thoughts. The hook for the legislation, of course, is the widely-shared sense of unease generated by the octuplets case. But the point I’ve been trying to make is that many different people/groups with many different interests could use the sudden public cry for action to advance regulations that do a lot of things, some of which may be to actually address the octuplet problem.
It’s in that context that I think the Georgia legislation is important. I gather it doesn’t have any real chance of passage, but it is a fine example of a bill that advances a whole bunch of ideological points, only some of which have to do with the octuplets.
It seems that was even more true than I knew. Here’s a post from another blog that offers further details about the pending Georgia legislation. Many of the points raised are troubling.
Notice, for example, that the legislation seeks to restrict use of ART to instances of infertility. I pick this point because at first blush it may seem quite a reasonable idea. But at least a couple of questions spring to mind immediately and make me wary of this.
First, does this address any actual problem? Are there people who are using ART just for the fun of it? Surely the vast majority of people who use ART do so because they have not been able to or cannot conceive in the ordinary fashion.
This leads to the second question, which really rises from the first. Who’s going to say what infertility is? Are all single people, by definition, infertile and therefore qualified to use ART? Or are most single people disqualified because they won’t meet some medical definition of infertility?
Now given what else I know about the proponents of this statute (see my earlier post) I’m guessing they’re not wild about single people having access to ART so they are going to say that they are not infertile. But really, who knows?
The key thing to see is how slippery regulation can be, how regulation aimed at one thing can slide over into other areas, and how alert one must be to all the possible consequences.