Alabama legislature passes bills protecting IVF access after court rules embryos are children

The Senate bill would "provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving goods or services related to in vitro fertilization." The House passed an identical companion bill.

Both the Alabama House and Senate on Thursday passed bills that would protect providers of in vitro fertilization services from prosecution two weeks after the state’s supreme court ruled that embryos are children and that providers can be charged with killing them, should they be damaged or destroyed.

>> Read more trending news

The Alabama House and the Senate are expected to pass a unified version of the legislation next week before they send it to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for a signature, The Associated Press reported.

The Senate bill would “provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving goods or services related to in vitro fertilization.” The House passed an identical companion bill.

The legislation crafts specific protections that shield patients, doctors and other professionals engaged in IVF services from prosecution and civil suits in the state.

The ruling by the court on Feb. 16 prompted at least three IVF clinics in the state to suspend their services over fear of being prosecuted for the death of an embryo.

The state supreme court ruling said that anyone can be held legally responsible for destroying embryos under a state wrongful death law. The law says that an unjustified or negligent act leading to a person’s death is a civil offense.

The ruling grew out of three families’ lawsuits accusing a Mobile, Alabama, fertility clinic, Center for Reproductive Medicine, and the hospital where it is located, Mobile Infirmary, of failing to properly safeguard frozen embryos, resulting in their destruction.

In an 8-1 majority, the court did not ban IVF, but instead held that it was a long-established precedent that “unborn children” are “children” for the purpose of the 1872 wrongful death law at issue in the case.

The justices cited a 2018 amendment to the state’s constitution that declared it was “the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”

Two-thirds of Americans surveyed in a recent Axios/Ipsos poll oppose the ruling that embryos are children and that people can be held legally responsible for destroying them,

The Alabama Supreme Court did not decide the underlying wrongful death lawsuits. Those will continue in the lower Alabama trial court.

On Air99.5 KISS FM - KISS Rocks San Antonio Logo

mobile apps

Everything you love about kissrocks.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!