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Alabama House passes finalized IVF protection bill, as Senate begins debate

By 37ci3 Mar6,2024

The Alabama House voted Wednesday to pass a final defense bill proposed by Republicans in vitro fertilizationAfter weeks of backlash over a controversial state Supreme Court ruling that embryos are considered children.

The state Senate was scheduled to vote on the same bill later Wednesday.

If the House passes the bill as expected, it will be sent to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who has said he will sign it into law.

“We expect the IVF protection legislation to receive final passage soon, and we look forward to the governor signing it into law,” Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola told NBC News Wednesday afternoon.

The legislation does not define or clarify whether frozen embryos created through IVF have the same rights as children under state law. Rather, a narrowly drafted bill would protect doctors, clinics and other health professionals who provide IVF treatment and services by offering civil and criminal “immunity” to such workers.

The two are the same bills of exchange in the state Senate and House “provides civil and criminal immunity for death or injury to an embryo to any individual or entity while performing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization.”

They state that “no suit, claim or criminal prosecution shall be brought against any person or entity for injury or death of an embryo when in vitro fertilization services are rendered or received.”

During debate in both chambers on Tuesday, lawmakers removed the term “goods” from the phrase “goods or services” from the bills, meaning companies that provide items integral to the IVF process could still face civil lawsuits but not criminal prosecution. — if their products are determined to damage or destroy embryos. The has been corrected bills also limit monetary awards in such suits to the price paid by patients for the affected IVF cycle.

Reproductive rights advocates said providers of such goods could contain, most importantly, the liquid solution that clinics use to help embryos grow.

Before the vote, those groups criticized the bill in its current form, saying it failed to fully protect IVF care against the broader issues raised by the decision.

Carla Torres, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the bill “falls far short of what Alabamans want and need to be able to access fertility care in their state without fear.”

“Even this bill seeks to give personhood to embryos, reinforcing the state Supreme Court’s extreme ruling that recognizes embryos as children,” Torres said, adding that the legislation “means backing down in the face of public outcry across the state and nationwide, so politicians save face.”

Still, in an interview with NBC News, doctors at fertility clinics across the state said they were prepared to resume embryo transfers and other care on Thursday if Ivey signed the bill.

“We believe it provides the protections needed to initiate or continue care,” said Dr. Janet Bouknight. paused IVF after the decision – referring to the same Senate and House bills.

Wednesday’s vote followed multiple hearings that included hours of emotional and intense debate between lawmakers who repeatedly voted to move forward with the proposals despite widespread opposition over the past few weeks.

During debate on the bills last week, pro-reproductive rights Democrats joined anti-abortion Republicans in criticizing the bill for failing to make clear whether an IVF-created embryo should be treated as a child under Alabama law. this month’s decision by the state Supreme Court.

Democrats sought language to clarify that embryos are not children under the law, while some Republicans argued for “personhood” language that affirms that they are.

Democrats in the GOP-controlled Legislature have made their own proposals believes that tried to make it clear that embryos “out of childhood” were not “considered unborn children”, although these accounts did not advance.

Republican supporters of the bills have been numerous he said said the bill was imperfect and intended as a quick fix designed to allow several IVF clinics in the state that closed after the ruling to reopen without fear of criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits for their employees.

Ivey’s signature on the bill — at least for now — would be weeks away A state Supreme Court ruling on embryos sparked a national backlash It is considered a child created through in vitro fertilization.

In particular, the Alabama Supreme Court found that a person could be held legally liable for the destruction of embryos under the state’s wrongful death statute, which declares that a wrongful or reckless act causing death is a civil tort. As a result, IVF services and embryo transfer providers could face adverse effects if the embryos are discarded – a common part of the IVF process, as some embryos may have genetic abnormalities or may no longer be needed.

The February decision immediately launched several IVF clinics in the state to stop services and led to broader concerns that conservatives opposed to reproductive rights may go elsewhere after the medical procedure.

The decision sparked mass protests in Alabama and across the U.S. against reproductive rights Republicans – including calls from former President Donald Trump to fix the problem “quickly” – sending state legislators to come up with a solution.

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By 37ci3

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