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Alabama Passes Law to Protect IVF Treatments

Alabama lawmakers have signed a bill to protect in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the state, but experts say further action is needed to ensure reproductive options remain.

Just a few weeks after the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act applies to all unborn children without limitation, including embryos outside the uterus, state lawmakers have signed a bill to protect IVF providers from civil and criminal liability.

The bill also protects manufacturers of goods related to IVF, as well as those involved in the transportation of embryos.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law after it received a majority vote of support, passing 81 to 12 (with nine abstentions) in the House and 29 to one in the Senate.

Some fertility clinics that halted operations following the initial ruling are now resuming treatments, according to the New York Times, while at least one is waiting for “legal clarification.”

“[We are] relieved that Alabama clinics can reopen their IVF programs and work with patients to help them fulfill their dreams of becoming parents,” said Barbara Collura, the president and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, in a statement.

However, Collura said the legislation does not address the status of embryos and that the IVF process and patient care are still threatened. "There is more work to be done," she said.

Indeed, the new bill does not address the issue of whether an embryo counts as a person under the law. Lawmakers, however, said the bill is meant to be a temporary, immediate fix and that more permanent, long-term solutions are being considered.

These comments, and the new law itself, demonstrate the bipartisan support that exists for IVF access.

An Axios/Ipsos poll released shortly after the initial Alabama Supreme Court ruling showed that 66% of respondents said they opposed the position that embryos should be considered people. And a new survey found that three in five Americans say access to fertility planning like IVF should be made easier to access (62%), including a plurality who say it should be “much” easier to access (45%).

“We are inspired by the thousands of advocates in Alabama that chose to speak up and take action, and to those brave advocates who shared their stories with the media and with their legislators,” Collura said. “Patients and providers in Alabama, and across the country, want and deserve the protected right to build families.”

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