March 7, 2024

Alabama immunity legislation shields IVF patients, providers

Editor's Note

A new Alabama law provides civil and criminal immunity for providers and patients of in vitro fertilization (IVF) services, the Associated Press reported March 7.

Last month, the Alabama Supreme Court effectively ruled that frozen embryos are people with a constitutional right to life, casting doubt on the continued provision of IVF services. Signed into law by Republican Governor Kay Ivey, the short-term measure enables clinics to resume services put on hold due to legal uncertainty.

Although the legislation drew support from the Alabama legislature's Republican majority, GOP lawmakers did not address the legal status of embryos created in IVF labs, the AP report notes. Rather, it prevents prosecution and civil lawsuits “for the damage to or death of an embryo” during IVF services. Damages from lawsuits against manufacturers of IVF-related goods would be capped to “the price paid for the impacted in vitro cycle.”

The basis of the Supreme Court decision was language from a 2018 amendment to the Alabama Constitution recognizing the “rights of unborn children,” the AP report notes.


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