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Tags: in vitro fertilization | alabama | court ruling

UAB First in Alabama to Halt In Vitro Fertilization

By    |   Wednesday, 21 February 2024 02:03 PM EST

The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system is pausing in vitro fertilization procedures — the first in the state to do so after the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered children.

Medical experts warned the decision could limit access to IVF all through the state, AL.com reported.

A statement from UAB spokeswoman Hannah Echols said the health system is "saddened" for patients who want to have babies through IVF, AL.com reported.

"We must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments," Echols wrote in an email, the outlet reported.

The process, which involves fertilizing eggs outside the body and then transferring embryos to the womb, accounts for about 2% of births in the United States, Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Columbia University Fertility Center, told CNN.

The pause by UAB Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility comes in the wake of Alabama's Feb.16 ruling that frozen embryos had the same status as children in wrongful death lawsuits.

A majority of justices on the state's Supreme Court ruled fertilized eggs and embryos have the same status as children — and referred to embryos, which are often stored in cryogenic freezers, as "extrauterine children."

The case arose after three families in Mobile sued a fertility clinic and hospital in 2020, the outlet noted. All three families had frozen embryos that were destroyed when a patient from the hospital walked into the storage area, removed them from a cryogenic freezer and dropped them on the ground.

A circuit court judge dismissed claims of wrongful death because he said the statute did not apply to frozen embryos, but eight judges on the Alabama Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

"Unborn children are 'children' ... without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics," Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in Friday's majority ruling by the all-Republican court.

The Wrongful Death of a Minor Act "applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location," he wrote. "[T]he Wrongful Death of a Minor Act is sweeping and unqualified. It applies to all children, born and unborn, without limitation."

"It is not the role of this Court to craft a new limitation based on our own view of what is or is not wise public policy. That is especially true where, as here, the People of this State have adopted a Constitutional amendment directly aimed at stopping courts from excluding 'unborn life' from legal protection," the ruling said.

There's many reasons families turn to IVF treatment, including cases in which women may have blocked fallopian tubes that won't allow fertilized eggs to travel to the uterus, AL reported.

In other instances, families can carry genes that cause fatal diseases and may want to create embryos that can be tested. In those instances, families will transfer healthy embryos and may discard or donate those that carry genetic diseases, AL.com reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Fran Beyer

Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system is pausing in vitro fertilization procedures - the first in the state to do so after a state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children.
in vitro fertilization, alabama, court ruling
503
2024-03-21
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 02:03 PM
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