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Multiple bills addressing IVF controversy to be heard in committees Wednesday

Multiple legislators in the Alabama Legislature filed bills aimed at ensuring in vitro fertilization in the state is protected.

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On Tuesday multiple legislators in the Alabama Legislature filed bills aimed at ensuring in vitro fertilization in the state is protected. 

Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur and Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia all have bills that address the topic of IVF.

The impetus for all of this legislation is a recent court decision by the Alabama Supreme Court which ruled that embryos effectively constituted children and therefore families were allowed to sue IVF clinics if frozen embryos were damaged or eliminated.

This decision has since caused several IVF clinics in the state to cease their operations at least currently because of the potential criminal penalties they could face and the legal conundrum the ruling has presented. This has also put many individuals who rely on IVF in peril as they could now no longer have access to these services and family making capabilities.

Melson’s bill, SB159, would, “provide civil and criminal immunity to persons providing goods and services related to in vitro fertilization except acts or ommission that are intentional and not arising from or related to IVF services.” This legislation would apply retroactively, and repeal automatically on April 1, 2025.

Collins’ legislation, HB237, is essentially the same as Melson’s with the only difference being that the protections would repeal on June 1, 2025.

Stutts’ bill, SB160, provides civil and criminal immunity to entities that provide IVF as along as they are following, “commonly accepted practices of care.”

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Both bills by Melson and Stutts will appear before the Senate Healthcare Committee at 12 p.m. Wednesday. 

In contrast to the other legislation Daniels has filed legislation, HB225 and HB240, seeking to define that an embryo outside of the uterus is not child, minor or “unborn life”. The Constitution of Alabama has an amendment that states, “it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life, the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”

HB240 specifically would propose a constitutional amendment to provide that an extrauterine embryo is not an “unborn life” or “unborn child.”

According to the Alabama Reflector, Melson stated that he believes the legislation will pass the legislative process in five days. Melson would continue saying that Alabama has been under scrutiny regarding the IVF ruling. 

“There’s been a whole lot of meetings on it and discussion,” he told the Reflector. “I had no clue that this was this big an issue, not only for Alabama — I’m not surprised there — but throughout the country and internationally, it’s just been, we’ve been under a microscope with this issue. And so we just need to rectify it.”

Often claiming to be the pro-family party, the ALGOP is effectively doing damage control as it attempts to fix a severely problematic issue that would hinder families.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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