Why the Southern Baptists Said No to IVF

Published June 20, 2024

The Wall Street Journal

The Southern Baptist Convention—whose nearly 13 million members make it the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.—is often described as a “barometer” for evangelical sentiments nationwide. Yet last week the convention did something few Christian bodies have done: It adopted a resolution opposing the use of in vitro fertilization.

Public debates about IVF and advanced reproductive technology aren’t new. Yet when the practice emerged in the 1970s, religious institutions often viewed it as a medical marvel that would rarely be needed. Some, like the Catholic Church, developed teachings on the matter within years (in that case, that IVF is unacceptable). Others, like the Southern Baptists, needed to be prodded.

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EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

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