President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett publicly supported an organization that believes life begins at fertilization and the discarding of unused or frozen embryos created in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process should be criminalized, The Guardian reports.
According to the newspaper, in 2006 Barrett and her husband signed a full-page newspaper advertisement sponsored by St. Joseph County Right to Life, an extreme pro-life group.
The ad, which ran in the South Bend Tribune, stated: “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death. Please continue to pray to end abortion.”
At the time Barrett worked as a law professor at Notre Dame. She was one of hundreds of people who signed the ad, according to The Guardian.
The group takes out a full-page advertisement annually to mark the passage of Roe v. Wade, according to the outlet, which noted that it did not find Barrett’s name on any other ads.
Executive director of the organization Jackie Appleman told The Guardian that the group’s view on life beginning at fertilization rather than the implantation of an embryo or a fetus being viable does have implications for in vitro fertilization, which can result in the creation of multiple embryos.
“Whether embryos are implanted in the woman and then selectively reduced or it’s done in a petri dish and then discarded, you’re still ending a new human life at that point and we do oppose that,” Appleman said.
She told the newspaper that getting rid of embryos during the IVF process was equal to the act of having an abortion. She noted that the group also believes that doctors who perform abortions should face criminal charges.
“We support the criminalization of the doctors who perform abortions,” she said. “At this point we are not supportive of criminalizing the women. We would be supportive of criminalizing the discarding of frozen embryos or selective reduction through the IVF process.”
She said the group’s views are based off of its mission “to create a culture of life and love in which every child is protected by law.”
In a statement to The Guardian, White House spokesman Judd Deere defended Barrett.
“As Judge Barrett said on the day she was nominated, ‘A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold,’” Deere said.
The White House also referenced how Barrett handled the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, a white supremacist convicted killer, while serving as an appellate court judge in the seventh circuit. She declined to stay the execution, which the White House said showed her willingness to go against her personal belief that all life is from “fertilization to natural death.”
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