Some concerned for ramifications if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Following the leaked draft of the Supreme Court Justice's opinion last week, many have taken to the streets demanding Roe v. Wade not be overturned.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did in fact protect a woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion or not. While the leaked document isn't a finalized decision or mandate, the draft talked about the potential to leave it up to the states to decide.

Protests across the nation and in Houston have been held. Many people have said they don't want this, while others do. The focus of the conversation has really been on abortions but some are concerned about other ramifications as well.

Dr. Timothy Hickman, president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, said conversations are being had among the organization on what this could mean for treatments like IVF or contraceptives like Plan B and birth control.

The concern is that if Roe were to be overturned it could leave an open window for politicians to criminalize certain methods of birth control or even impair access to IVF.

"(If) people say, 'Oh (a) fertilized egg is a child' and 'You can't do that.' That would be a big issue because obviously, we're trying to help people have children," said Hickman.

Hickman explains he doesn't believe politicians would willfully prohibit families from having children through in vitro fertilization but is concerned about verbiage that could be used if this is potentially addressed.

"We're worried about the unintended consequences if this is poorly phrased, how this could be misconstrued as IVF having anything to do with abortion, which is obviously not the case," said Hickman.

He said one in eight couples is affected by infertility. He says through IVF they fertilize eggs, grow them, biopsy them to see if they're healthy and freeze them in an effort to help people have children.

"Some birth control methods work by having no implantation. Some birth control methods work by having no release of the egg and some work both ways. So those are debatable on how they would be construed in a law," said Hickman.

The state of Texas is one of 13 states that has something called 'Trigger Laws.' Political science expert, Professor Mark Jones said that means Texas would ban abortions or nearly all abortions within weeks if Roe is overturned.

"If for instance, the Supreme Court as normally is the case releases this opinion in June, by the end of July abortions will be illegal except to save the mother's life," said Jones.

Jones said that if Roe were to be overturned it would only leave abortions in the hands of states like ours. He says IVF and forms of birth control wouldn't be at risk in the short term, but more so down the line.

"This really opens Pandora's box," said Jones. "Here in Texas, we could see efforts to restrict IVF. We could see efforts to restrict birth control. And to codify things that may be gray in terms of what is legal and illegal in terms of IVF and birth control in a post-Roe era."

Hickman said some of his patients are already bringing up concerns.

"We had one just the other day that said, 'I'm really worried about this. We haven't had our children yet. And I'm really concerned that possibly I'm going to be prohibited from doing this,'" said Hickman.

He said he's going to do everything he can to assure that doesn't happen.

Regardless, no final decisions have been made by the Nation's highest court at this time on Roe.

For updates on this story, follow Daniela Hurtado on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.