Alabama governor signs bill aimed at protecting IVF following state supreme court ruling that embryos are children – JURIST

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Wednesday night shielding in vitro fertilization (IVF) providers from legal liability, moments after it was passed by the legislature. This law comes after weeks of debate following the February 16 Alabama Supreme Court ruling that embryos are considered children under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

The new law protects IVF providers from some civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions. It stipulates, in part:

Related to in vitro fertilization and notwithstanding any provision of law, including any cause of action provided in Chapter 5 of Title 6, Code of Alabama 1975, no action, suit, or criminal prosecution for the damage to or death of an embryo shall be brought or maintained against any individual or entity when providing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization.

It also prohibits criminal prosecutions from being commenced against IVF providers for damage to or death of an embryo. The law’s provisions apply retroactively, meaning that IVF patients cannot sue providers over damage to or the death of an embryo even if the damage or death occurred before the law’s passage.

The legislative effort to protect IVF providers from litigation followed criticism resulting from the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling. Some Alabama IVF providers even paused services due to the uncertainty surrounding the court’s decision.

In her announcement, Governor Ivey said: “IVF is a complex issue, no doubt, and I anticipate there will be more work to come, but right now, I am confident that this legislation will provide the assurances our IVF clinics need and will lead them to resume services immediately.”

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