What to know about Alabama’s fast-track legislation to protect IVF clinics | Trending Viral hub


Alabama lawmakers are moving quickly to pass measures this week to protect in vitro fertilization clinics from lawsuits in response to an uproar sparked by last month’s state Supreme Court ruling that found frozen embryos have the rights of children under the state’s wrongful death law.

Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, is expected to sign one of the two bills into law.

Either bill would give legal protection to fertility clinics, at least three of which suspended IVF treatments after the court ruling to assess their new liability risks.

Here you will find information you need to know about the bills and the process for turning one into law.

Both the state Senate and House are pushing nearly identical legislation that would protect IVF providers and their employees from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution for destroying or damaging an embryo.

Either measure, if signed into law, would take effect immediately and apply retroactively to any past damage or destruction not yet the subject of a lawsuit.

Lawmakers say IVF providers have told them the protections are enough for them to resume services.

The bills say nothing about whether embryos outside the body are legally considered children.

In a February ruling to allow wrongful death lawsuits brought by couples whose frozen embryos were destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the wrongful death law “applies to all unmarried children.” born, regardless of their location. The ruling cited an anti-abortion provision added to the state constitution in 2018 that protects the “rights of unborn children.”

Applying wrongful death and other laws to fetuses and embryos is not new. But it was a significant development when a court said that also applies to embryos outside the body.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents IVF providers nationwide, said the legislation is insufficient because it does not undo the ruling that fertilized eggs are considered children.

A lawmaker wanted to amend the House bill to prohibit clinics from intentionally discarding embryos, but was rejected.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling is the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended a national right to abortion in 2022 that the consequences have been extended to restrict IVF.

Many abortion opponents support IVF. But some want embryos and fetuses to be given the legal rights of children, a development that could pave the way for an abortion ban.

Alabama is one of 14 states that has begun enforcing a ban on abortions at all stages of pregnancy in the past two years.

Republican lawmakers are sponsoring both measures in a state where politics is dominated by Republicans.

And they have strong support from legislators. The House version passed last week with a vote of 94 to 6 and the Senate was unanimous, 32 to 0.

Former president donald trumpwho is seeking a return to the White House, said last week that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF.”

Nathaniel Ledbetter, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, said it was a priority: “Alabamians believe strongly in protecting the rights of the unborn, but the outcome of the State Supreme Court ruling denies many couples the opportunity to conceive, which is a direct contradiction.

Lawmakers accelerated these measures.

Each has already been adopted by the chamber where it originated and has been sent to the other.

The bills, which could be amended, are on the agenda for committee hearings Tuesday.

Lawmakers are expected to give final approval to one, or perhaps both, on Wednesday and send the legislation to Gov. Ivey, who could sign legislation the same day.

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