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Baptists and IVF

masked hospital worker holds frozen embryo
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

When the Southern Baptist Convention met a few weeks ago, the messengers adopted a resolution about in vitro fertilization (known as IVF). While it is unusual for the nation’s largest Protestant denomination to debate medical ethics, they felt a need to respond to the recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court on IVF.

The mainstream press reported this as an attempt to condemn the practice. The actual statement was to “reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being” and asked that doctors “only utilize reproductive technologies consistent with that affirmation.”

When I wrote my book about genetic engineering in the 1980s, I started to hear from infertile women (the modern-day Hannahs) wondering about the ethics of IVF. If you are interested, you might want to obtain my recent booklet, A Biblical View on Genetic Engineering.

Let me also point you to the work by Dr. Jim Denison, who have been on my radio program. He has an excellent white paper on, “When does life begin? Frozen embryos, IVF, and the sanctity of life.” He is the Theologian in Residence for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health.

He reminds us that “at the moment of fertilization, the embryo possesses the chromosomal makeup of a distinct human being with all inheritable factors.” And we also know that all persons are equal in their right to life (Psalm 139:13–16).

This perspective would therefore call for the careful and moral application of IVF. The Southern Baptist Convention resolution is not radical but based on sound biblical and medical information. viewpoints new web version

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