Alabama passes IVF protection law after uproar over court ruling

Birmingham, Alabama - Alabama's governor signed into law on Wednesday new liability protections related to in vitro fertilization (IVF), after a court ruling led fertility clinics across the state to halt procedures.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed legislation providing protections for in vitro fertilization after a concerning state Supreme Court ruling.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed legislation providing protections for in vitro fertilization after a concerning state Supreme Court ruling.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

"I have signed SB159, the IVF protections legislation, after it received overwhelming support from the Alabama Legislature," Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement posted on social media platform X.

The bill, which passed the legislature late Wednesday evening, provides "civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization."

In mid-February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered children under state law and that their destruction could therefore carry legal penalties.

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Fertility clinics throughout the state quickly announced they were pausing IVF treatments in light of the new legal risks, turning the issue into a national political flashpoint.

A wave of Republicans, including presidential candidate Donald Trump, distanced themselves from the ruling, wary of its political repercussions.

Democratic President Joe Biden slammed the ruling as "outrageous and unacceptable, saying "it was a direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade."

Paused IVF treatments to resume in Alabama

The conservative-majority US Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade – the landmark decision that had protected the national right to abortion for 50 years – paving the way for states to wade in on questions of how personhood is defined.

Alabama afterward began enforcing its ban on abortions, which includes no exceptions.

"IVF is a complex issue, no doubt, and I anticipate there will be more work to come," Ivey said Wednesday. "From protecting the unborn to supporting IVF, Alabama is proud we are a pro-life, pro-family state."

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of several facilities to halt IVF treatments after the February ruling, said Wednesday it would "promptly" resume treatments and "continue to assess developments and advocate for protections for IVF patients and providers."

Cover photo: IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

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