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Alabama healthcare providers pause IVF after pro-life embryo ruling

In vitro fertilization embryologist working on a petri dish Associated Press/Photo by Sang Tan

Alabama healthcare providers pause IVF after pro-life embryo ruling

Healthcare providers across the state announced this week that in vitro fertilization treatments will be paused until further notice. The state’s Supreme Court ruled last Friday that frozen fertilized embryos used in IVF should be considered children under the law, raising concerns of increased liability from providers. The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system confirmed the temporary break on Wednesday. The Mobile Infirmary and the Center for Reproductive Medicine released a joint statement on Thursday. Alabama Fertility Specialists also announced a pause to treatment on Thursday, citing “legal risk to our clinic and our embryologists.”

State legislators are now working to legally amend the definition of an embryo. Democratic Rep. Anthony Daniels introduced a bill on Thursday stating that a fertilized embryo outside of the uterus “is not considered an unborn child or human being for any purpose under state law.” Republican State Sen. Tim Melson is reportedly expected to file a similar measure in the state’s upper chamber.

What kind of increased liability are clinics facing? Alabama’s highest court ruled last week that frozen, fertilized embryos should receive legal protection under the state’s Sanctity of Life Amendment. Several parents had petitioned the Supreme Court for the ruling after their embryos were destroyed during a break-in at the clinic. With the ruling, clinics could be charged under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act should anything happen to an embryo in their care.

Dig deeper: Read R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s column in WORLD Opinions on last week’s ruling.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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