New Alabama Ruling Protects IVF

( – Legislators in Alabama passed bills last week to settle the controversy surrounding in vitro fertilization (IVF) from a state Supreme Court ruling, protecting patients and doctors from liability in the event of damage or destruction to frozen embryos, which the Supreme Court ruled were considered children and covered under the same rights.

On Thursday, February 29th, Alabama approved protections for IVF providers and patients seeking IVF services if any embryos are destroyed or damaged in the process.

Following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that embryos were legally considered children, most IVF providers in Alabama temporarily halted their services for fear of litigation from patients and providers. The ruling came in response to a case brought by three couples whose frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed by a wandering patient who gained access to the cryogenic storage room and dropped them on the ground.

After the ruling, IVF providers began to suspend services because part of the IVF process typically involved discarding embryos with genetic abnormalities or if the patient no longer requires them, and the legal implications of this became unclear.

After the ruling, Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth sponsored a measure in Congress to secure access to IVF at a federal level, but Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi blocked the legislation.

Now, Alabama lawmakers have found a solution in their state by passing legislation that will provide “civil and criminal immunity” to IVF providers and customers if an embryo is killed or damaged. It also grants retroactive protection.

The legal protections for IVF received overwhelming support in the Republican-dominated Alabama House and Senate. Republican Rep. Terri Collins introduced HB237 and Republican Sen. Tim Melson introduced the same protections in the form of SB159. The bill will now move to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk. The Republican governor has already expressed support for protecting IVF.

The IVF debate comes after the landscape of “reproductive rights” has completely transformed in America ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which put the ball back into the individual states’ courts and out of the federal government’s hands. While some have cracked down heavily on abortion procedures, others have lifted restrictions.

Copyright 2024,