Senate Passes New Bill Protecting IVF Access

Senate Passes New Bill Protecting IVF Access

( – After the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos are viable human children, lawmakers in Alabama passed a bill on February 29 to safeguard the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The Alabama House and Senate passed the legislation 94-6 and 34-0, respectively. Terri Collins, a Republican state representative, sponsored House Bill 237, and Tim Melsen, a Republican state senator, sponsored Senate Bill 159. In the House, two Republicans and four Democrats voted no.

The House and Senate could consolidate their respective bills and send the single bill to the governor’s desk, Kay Ivey, to sign it into law within a week.

The intention of the measures was to safeguard the IVF clinics, as some of them closed their services after the state Supreme Court issued its ruling that the embryos that are frozen are extrauterine children. This action on the part of IVF clinics was out of concern that they may be held liable for criminal charges or lawsuits regarding wrongful deaths when they discard unused embryos. This is a routine action when the excess embryos are no longer needed.

Once the bill is signed into law, it would give criminal and civil immunity to IVF clinics for the routine action of discarding any unused embryos as a function of IVF treatment. This will not give immunity for a willful omission or act that is not routine treatment during IVF services.

Representative Collins stated that it would keep clinics open to help families during the time lawmakers review what the next step, if necessary, would be. She mentioned that a possible state constitutional amendment may be the next step.

Mark Gidley, a Republican representative, stated that he thought the bill may be used to undermine the pro-life status of Alabama. He said that the Supreme Court recognized that these frozen embryos are human life, and it was important that they remain so.

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