Alabama Governor protects IVF access

In early March, Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Senate bill SB159, which protects IVF from “civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo provided to persons.” This bipartisan bill was proposed in the wake of the recent state Supreme Court ruling that decided frozen embryos are protected by the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act of 1872, suggesting that “it applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.” 

After the Court’s ruling, three major IVF clinics in the state paused treatment and patients immediately expressed their frustration. In response, Alabama state lawmakers proposed immunity for the IVF clinics to alleviate the risks from the court’s ruling. Governor Ivey, after signing, said, “I am pleased to sign this important, short-term measure into law so that couples in Alabama hoping and praying to be parents can grow their families through IVF.” Unfortunately, this is only a temporary solution for a more significant issue of embryos being seen as “children.” 

At the state level, embryonic personhood has been left undefined. Although passing this immunity bill protects against criminal charges, it is still not enough when considering that there is no confirmed consensus regarding the status of embryos, which can potentially lead to more legal issues going forward. 

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