Alabama lawmakers aim to pass immunity laws for IVF providers | Trending Viral hub


MONTGOMERY, Alabama. — Alabama lawmakers, facing public pressure to restart in vitro fertilization services, are poised to pass immunity legislation to protect providers from the fallout of a court ruling that equated frozen embryos with children. .

Alabama House and Alabama Senate committees on Tuesday will debate legislation to protect providers from lawsuits and criminal prosecution for “harm or death of an embryo” during IVF services. Republican Sen. Tim Melson, sponsor of the Senate bill, said Monday that they hope the proposal will be approved and sent to Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday.

“We anticipate the IVF protection legislation will receive final approval this week and look forward to the governor signing it into law,” said Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola.

Three major IVF providers suspended services following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling last month that said three couples whose frozen embryos were destroyed in an accident at a storage facility could file wrongful death lawsuits to their “extrauterine children.” The ruling, which treats an embryo the same as an unborn child or fetus under the wrongful death statute, raised concerns about the clinics’ civil liabilities.

The court decision also provoked an immediate reaction. Across the country, groups expressed concern over a court ruling that recognizes embryos as children. Patients in Alabama shared stories of how upcoming embryo transfers were abruptly canceled and their path to parenthood was thrown into doubt.

Republicans in the GOP-dominated Alabama Legislature see the immunity proposal as a solution to the clinics’ concerns. But Republicans have avoided proposals that would address the legal status of embryos created in IVF labs.

Alabama providers have supported possible passage of the proposed immunity bill.

“Let’s restart IVF as soon as possible,” Fertility Alabama, one of the providers that had to suspend services, wrote in a social media post urging support for the bill. A phone message to the clinic was not immediately returned Monday.

However, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a group that represents IVF providers nationwide, said the legislation does not go far enough.

Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the organization, said Monday that the legislation does not correct the “fundamental problem” which he said is the court ruling that “conflates fertilized eggs with children.”

House Democrats have proposed legislation stating that a human embryo outside the womb cannot be considered a fetus or a human being under state law. Last week, Democrats argued that was the most direct way to address the issue. Republicans have not put the proposal to a vote.

The GOP proposals state that “no criminal action, lawsuit or proceeding shall be brought for the harm or death of an embryo for ‘providing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization.'” The legislation would apply retroactively except in cases in which the litigation is already underway.

The House and Senate passed nearly identical versions of the bills last week. The House version includes judicial protections not only for IVF services, but also for “goods” or products used in IVF services.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Melson, said last week that he was not comfortable exempting products, which he said could include the nutrient-rich solutions used in IVF to help embryos develop. He noted that there were allegations that a defective batch of a storage solution led to the loss of embryos.

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