Southern Baptist Convention votes against IVF treatments

The resolution was approved by nearly 11,000 attendees at the SBC's annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Published: June 12, 2024 4:21pm

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted on Wednesday against supporting pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF), because it “most often participates in the destruction of embryonic human life."

The topic of IVF as a way to treat infertility for families that still want biological children has been a dividing topic among conservatives, and recently surged after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago. The topic has also surfaced in pro-life circles after the Alabama Supreme Court said frozen embryos should have full personhood rights in February.

The resolution was approved by nearly 11,000 attendees at the SBC's annual meeting in Indianapolis, Politico reported. 

“It’s going to be a long process. It took us 50 years to take down Roe,” Brent Leatherwood, president of the public policy arm of the SBC, said. “It may take us a similarly long time frame to get people to a place where they are thinking more deeply about something like this. It’s okay. It takes time. We have to be patient.”

One main reason that the topic is considered controversial is because the process typically destroys unused but still viable embryos, which reopens the question on when life begins. Pro-life advocates usually believe that life begins at conception.

"You can’t say on one hand life begins at fertilization and then on the other hand say but now we’re not so concerned about that in this other arena,” said Albert Mohler, a prominent evangelical theologian and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Andrew Walker, an ethics professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he believes the Alabama ruling has given the SBC a chance to comment and make a case against IVF.

“Do I think this means that Southern Baptist couples will never ever pursue IVF again? No, I don’t think that’s the case,” Walker said. “I think that this is a very helpful point in time brought about by national circumstances that is allowing us to make an initial but very important statement on IVF.”

The vote also comes the same day that the SBC voted against enshrining a ban on women serving in pastoral roles. Women cannot serve as lead pastors in the denomination, but the proposed ban would have extended to lesser positions such as associate pastorships or other ministries.

Southern Baptists are the largest protestant denomination in Christianity. But is smaller than Catholicism, which already opposes IVF treatments.

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.

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