From the SFLA Blog

A Closer Look at the Alabama IVF Case 

Savanna Deretich - 01 Mar 2024

Invitro Fertilization (IVF) is a complicated issue… an issue that has been too rarely debated in a public policy space, which is one of the reasons why the advances in technology have far outpaced conversation about how to handle it. Now unexpectedly, the pro-life movement is being asked to address concerns about IVF issue due to the recent Alabama court ruling, in which parents who lost embryos in an accident were permitted to sue. And like always, the media and the pro-abortion industry are weaponizing this case during an election year to further their fear mongering about abortion.  

To be clear, there are a lot of reasons to be concerned about a business model that creates disposable children as everyday practice. As reported in an SFLA blog, What to Expect when You’re Expecting to Talk about IVF, “Because of the cost of IVF, and the fact that the vast majority of embryos (80%) produced during IVF and chosen for transfer still fail to implant or to result in a liveborn infant,” IVF businesses will attempt to create human embryos in volume.” This means that getting bang for your buck in IVF usually results in many lost lives. That is an issue worth discussing.  

But instead, a lot of media hype focuses on whether IVF will continue at all.  

In meetings on Capitol Hill, attorneys and research associates have been discussing the implications of the case. Here is what you need to know regarding the ruling in Alabama:  

This decision in no way prohibits the use of IVF. Responsible IVF clinics are allowed to operate in Alabama according to the Alabama decision. It states, “In Alabama, the only statutes that mention IVF address the issue of determining parentage of children conceived through IVF, but they do not govern the practice of IVF itself.”  

According to Ed Whelan from the National Review, there is no link between the Dobbs Decision and this Alabama case. Members of Congress and state legislators are claiming this is all because of the Dobbs case overturning Roe v. Wade. The truth is the state of Alabama along with several other states already recognized that a preborn baby is a “child” way before the Dobbs decision. Also, the Dobbs decision does not define when life begins nor when does a child become a “child” which is what the premise was of this Alabama case.  

The case came about from multiple Alabama families who discovered the negligence of an IVF clinic. This caused the families heartbreak on learning that multiple embryonic children were carelessly handled by a psychiatric inpatient. As a result of the families discovering this, sued the IVF clinic under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act which was passed in Alabama in 1872. The Wrongful Death of a Minor Act is, “a civil law that allows for both compensatory and punitive damages, and that in the alternative, the clinic was liable under claims of negligence and wantonness, for which they sought compensatory damages, including damages for mental anguish and emotional distress.” (ASRM) The parents in this case recognized their embryos were children while the IVF clinic did not. Using the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act held up in the Alabama Courts because the Alabama Constitution recognizes that the preborn are “children.”  

To further note, 39 states have fetal homicide laws and statues even in pro-abortion states including New York, California, and Massachusetts. This confirms that it is not unusual for a state to recognize the preborn as “children” to be protected in certain circumstances.  

According to Emma Waters who is a Research Associate at the Heritage Foundation, neglecting or destroying embryos is NOT essential for IVF. The top priority in IVF should be the wellbeing of children, not profit or carelessness. For example, In Louisiana, an embryo protection act has been on the books since the 1980’s, and IVF continues to flourish in the state. Additionally, Western countries permit IVF, but limit or prohibit the wanton production and destruction of human embryos. Examples include Germany, Italy, France, New Zealand, and Australia. 

Now, not only Democrats, but also moderate republicans are panicking that due University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB)’s decision to temporarily shut down its fertility clinic, that IVF all over the state will shut down, therefore ending IVF accessibility. The Heritage Foundation stated, “So, UAB’s decision doesn’t mean that the state supreme court’s decision is extreme or anti-IVF. It simply suggests that UAB felt its protocols for dealing with embryonic human life weren’t compatible with the high standard the court adopted in this decision. In short, it says a lot more about the extremism of an unregulated fertility industry than the extremism of the court.”  

There is a harsh reality with IVF, many clinics and IVF treatments rely on creating excess embryos which have led to unethical research, freezing, genetic altering which is as we know eugenics. Ultimately, the Alabama case keeps IVF clinics and fertility centers accountable to treat embryonic children as human beings to care for, not discard like unwanted trash. The claims that this Alabama case will not only shut down IVF clinics in Alabama but other states as well, is a false and fear mongering narrative from the pro-abortion left to pull more of the mushy middle on abortion on their side in an important election year. Inserting IVF in the category of “reproductive care” along with abortion is clearly a way to build support for the abortion industry’s pro-abortion agenda.  

We must not allow the media to continue the false narrative that this case keeps hurting couples from starting families. But it does raise issues worth a conversation.  

READ NEXT: Frozen Embryos are Children According to God, Not the Law

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