The Alabama Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos are children

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that fetuses and eggs will be covered under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act

“By insisting that these very different biological entities are legally equivalent, the best state-of-the-art fertility care will be made unavailable to the people of Alabama. No health care provider will be willing to provide treatments if those treatments may lead to civil or criminal charges,” Amato said.

Mitchell said the court had previously ruled that fetuses killed while a woman is pregnant are covered under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act and nothing excludes “extrauterine children from the Act’s coverage.”

Dr. Paula Amato says a decision to treat frozen fertilized egg as a child or fetus could limit availability of modern health care.

Sean Tipton, spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said that one Alabama fertility clinic was instructed by their hospital to stop all fertility treatments immediately after the decision was made.

On a day when she began daily injections for her eggs, the court ruling came down on the same day.

It took me by surprise. It was very difficult to think about and I didn’t have much to think about. I immediately contacted my clinic and asked if this could stop us. They said we have to take it one day at a time,” Goidel said.

The couples could proceed with their wrongful death lawsuits. The hospital and clinics that are defendants in the case have the option of requesting a re-examination from the court.

An anti-abortion group cheered the decision. The founder of Live Action said in a statement that every person, from the smallest embryo to an older man, deserves and is guaranteed legal protection.

The anti-abortion language that was added to the Alabama Constitution made a large part of the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision.

Justice Greg Cook filed the only dissent to the majority opinion, saying that the 1872 law did not define “minor child” and was stretching from the original intent to cover frozen embryos.

It would not have any effect unless more states control abortion access. Control of abortion access in the states was regained in the year 2022.

Jean-Pierre blamed the Republican elected officials for blocking access to reproductive and emergency care to women, saying that the Alabama case reflected the consequences of the Supreme Court changing the contraceptive law.

“This president and this vice president will continue to fight to protect access to reproductive health care and call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every state,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

What Happens If a Baby Gets Involved in a Factory: The Alabama Supreme Court’s Wrongful Death Litigation

She’s a professor of law and an expert in reproductive rights at the University of Arkansas. Alabama’s Supreme court has applied wrongful death law to stillbirths and pregnant women, if it’s a person, it’s a person. It’s not clear why the location in a freezer would matter.

In other words, anyone who’s been following Alabama’s abortion debate should have seen it coming in a state where prosecutors have arrested pregnant women for engaging in behaviors like taking drugs that could be harmful to a fetus. Alabama does not allow exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

No other state has given personhood rights to all fertilized eggs. And even in states that allow the prosecution of women who put the health of their fetuses at risk, most do not apply that prosecution statute to pregnancies before the 24th week. That is the age at which most doctors consider a fetus to be able to live outside the womb.

What went wrong in this case pertains to the security of the hospital that was storing the frozen embryos. A patient somehow got into the lab and destroyed the embryos by grabbing them and dropping them.

This was a wrongful death lawsuit, meaning it was brought by couples who are mourning the accidental destruction of the embryos, and want to hold someone responsible for that. That said, what do you see as the wider-ranging or perhaps unintended consequences for IVF clinics in Alabama?

All Things Considered host Ailsa Chang speaks to UC Davis Professor of Law Mary Ziegler, who breaks down the possible downstream legal implication for how IVF is performed.

Before we get to the actual ruling can you tell us a little about the situation that led to the lawsuit being brought to Alabama’s supreme court?

Ziegler: I think there has been a larger strategy for the anti-abortion movement. A fetus or embryo can be considered a person, especially for the purposes of the federal constitution. While this isn’t a case about the federal constitution, I think you will see the anti-abortion movement try to get the courts to recognize a fetus or embryo as a person in a variety of circumstances. The more compelling is their argument that abortion laws are impermissible and that a fetus is a rights holder.

Ziegler: If Alabama IVF providers feel obligated to implant every embryo they create, that will likely decrease the chances that any cycle will be successful. It could make it a lot more expensive. IVF is already very expensive. I believe the average is between $15,000 and $20,000 per cycle. Many patients do not get rid of their infertility after a single cycle. It’s likely to be more difficult for people who don’t have insurance coverage to afford the costs of instument if you are not allowed to create more than one embryo per cycle.

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