Republican Alabama Governor Signs IVF Protections into Law

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Following a decision by the state Supreme Court that frozen embryos should be treated as children, which forced at least three Alabama providers to stop the process, Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a bill protecting in vitro fertilization into law on Wednesday.

Following brief deliberations on February 29, both chambers of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed the legislation shielding IVF practitioners from both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.

Ivey said in a statement on Wednesday night that infertility was “a complex issue, no doubt,” and that further research was likely to be done. “But right now, I am confident that this legislation will provide the assurances our IVF clinics need and will lead them to resume services immediately,” she stated.

Republicans across the country have been frantically trying to contain the fallout from the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision on February 16th. The court, which has all Republican elected judges, left open the legality of storing, transporting, and using embryos, leading some IVF patients to think about relocating their frozen embryos outside of Alabama.

The Alabama court decision has been used by Democrats as proof that women’s rights are being violated.

For couples who are unable to conceive, in vitro fertilization (IVF) creates an embryo by mixing eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish.

In response to three families’ complaints against a hospital and fertility clinic for neglecting to properly store their frozen embryos, which led to their destruction when a patient accessed them unlawfully, the Alabama Supreme Court rendered its decision.

Republican Alabama Governor Signs IVF Protections into Law

Based on the state’s 2018 Sanctity of Unborn Life Amendment approved by voters the decision upheld “the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”

According to Republican state senator Tim Melson, who sponsored the bill, Ivey’s signature would not necessarily mean that IVF providers could resume operations as usual.

In response to a question from a different senator regarding what would happen to unused embryos under the proposed law in Alabama, Melson stated during a state Senate debate on Thursday that some providers had informed him that they intended to begin permanently storing embryos that are not implanted into uteruses as a result of the court ruling.

“He said they’ll probably make that their official policy. Although it isn’t in place now, they are thinking about doing that.