Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is frantically trying to quell the controversy over comments she made about IVF after an Alabama court’s recent ruling that frozen embryos are children.
“We don’t want fertility treatment to shut down, we don’t want them to stop doing IVF treatment, we don’t want them to stop doing artificial insemination,” Haley said on CNN on Thursday. “But I think this needs to be decided by the people in every state. Don’t take away the rights of these physicians and these parents to have these conversations.”
It was Haley’s second such attempt to explain away her controversial stance on the issue. On Wednesday evening, Haley blurted out a much more gibberish response.
“Well first off all, this is, again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. The question that I was asked is ‘do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley said on CNN Wednesday evening. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so yes, I believe, from my stance, that that is.”
But calling an embryo—the stage before the microscopic cellular mass is labeled a fetus—an unborn baby is not exactly correct.
In Handmaid’s Tale-esque fashion, Haley has tried to toe the line on the issue of third party fertility in a futile effort to keep voters from turning away from her floundering campaign, even though she conceived her son via artificial insemination.
Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court decided that embryos created through in-vitro fertilization would be protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, effectively classifying single-celled, fertilized eggs as children. The decision has spelt certain doom for IVF clinics across the state, three of which have already announced that they will no longer be offering the procedure for fear of being hit with wrongful death suits.
So, when Haley initially claimed that embryos “are babies” and that she could see where the court was “coming from” on the issue, people were stunned.
“Embryos, to me, are babies,” Haley told NBC News. “When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”