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Alabama lawmakers introduce bills to protect IVF treatments

Alabama House Democrats introduced a bill that would clarify that "any fertilized human egg or embryo" stored outside of a uterus is not a child.
Alabama lawmakers introduce bills to protect IVF treatments
Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 19:24:37-05

Alabama lawmakers have proposed bills meant to protect in vitro fertilization treatments in the state following an unprecedented decision by the state's Supreme Court that ruled frozen embryos should be considered children under state law.

President Joe Biden criticized the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, calling it "outrageous and unacceptable."

Former President Donald Trump is calling on lawmakers in the state to protect access to IVF treatments, posting on Truth Social: "We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder."

"I'm calling on the Alabama legislature to act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama," Trump said during his rally. 

Alabama House Democrats introduced a bill that would clarify that "any fertilized human egg or embryo" stored outside of a uterus is not a child under state law.

The bill's sponsor wrote on X: "AL's Supreme Court decision to rule that frozen embryos are 'children' is a huge assault on reproductive health care." 

Meanwhile, Republican State Sen. Tim Melson told reporters he's working on legislation that says a fertilized egg in vitro is a "potential life" but should not be considered a human life until it's implanted into a woman's uterus and a pregnancy is medically detected.

"We have advanced so far in medicine that we're now storing everything from embryos to a sperm to eggs to, for future use," Melson said. "And we hadn't really thought about the consequences of that and it's time to figure that out."

The Alabama Attorney General's office said Friday it has no intention to prosecute IVF families or providers based on the decision. 

The ruling, which cited the Bible, has gained national attention and has put IVF patients in Alabama in a state of limbo. At least three fertility clinics in Alabama have paused or restricted IVF services in response to the ruling.

Legal experts say the decision could mean higher costs for couples seeking fertility treatments in Alabama by forcing them to store frozen embryos in a different state or pay lifelong storage fees for embryos that aren't used. It could also mean patients might have to travel out of state to get the care they need. 

Members of Congress from both parties have also spoken out in support of IVF protections.

"Pro-life means being pro-IVF," Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida said. "You're always gonna find me on the side of family formation, not against family formation. I believe the Alabama legislature ought to amend their law so that IVF can occur safely."

SEE MORE: Trump says he strongly supports IVF after Alabama court ruling


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