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Alabama governor signs IVF protection legislation

An IVF facility worker removes a container with frozen embryos and sperm from storage in liquid nitrogen. Associated Press/Photo by Lynne Sladky, file

Alabama governor signs IVF protection legislation

Kay Ivey said Thursday that she had signed the legislation to protect in vitro fertilization. She said that Alabama was a “pro-family state” that seeks to promote a culture of life “that certainly includes IVF.” She added that “Alabama supports growing families through IVF.”

What will the new state law do? The law provides “criminal immunity” to anyone who damages an embryo in connection with receiving or providing IVF. The law will provide IVF facilities with the assurances of reduced liability, allowing the facilities to resume operations, Ivey said. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America has criticized the legislation, urging lawmakers to balance the continuance of IVF “with the responsibility to respect life.”

Why is this law in existence? Last month, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos involved in IVF procedures were human beings. The case in question was prompted by a lawsuit over the destruction of IVF embryos that were in storage. The state’s top court overturned a dismissal of the claim, brought under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s IVF clinic paused operations in response to the ruling. A Virginian-based group called RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, issued a statement expressing disappointment over that decision.

But are IVF facilities actually facing lawsuits? The IVF facility involved in the lawsuit that led to the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling, the Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C., last week caught its third lawsuit from a fourth couple involving the destruction of embryos. The lawsuit is related to the 2020 incident referenced in the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, wherein a man wandered through an unsecured doorway, accessed the embryos, and dropped them.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’s report in Vitals sifting through the various misunderstandings of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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