Alabama Supreme Court Rules that Embryos are Children

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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What Happened:

 The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that human embryos are considered life, upending the IVF industry in the state and possibly nationally. In Vitro Fertilization, long used by parents who have a difficulty time conceiving children, has been in the crosshairs by some conservative activists over the embryos which are discarded, which they consider as life, and therefore murder. Alabama’s largest hospital chain has suspended IVF procedures in response to the ruling because their doctors could suffer legal repercussions.

This is a ruling that is the first of its kind, and lawmakers and citizens alike have expressed concern for the future.

The Details:

This ruling has caused ripple effects throughout the medical and legal world. Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall stated that they will not use the courts decision to prosecute IVF families. Even with this, clinics across the state have halted operations due to concerns of legal risks for staff.

Republicans in Alabama are working with Democrats to create bipartisan legislation that would “protect” IVF. Moderate former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan condemned the move as he runs for U.S. Senate, while Republican Rep. Nancy Mace will announce a resolution protecting IVF. Former President Trump has not announced any stance on the issue, trying to bury it and not hurt his standing among young voters and suburban women, which support abortion and IVF.

Democrats have hammered Republicans overall and Trump on the issue, knowing how potent of an attack it is after the 2022 Midterms. In those elections, hard-right Republicans, nearly all of which were against abortion, lost in elections Republicans could have won. Democrats see mobilizing pro-abortion voters as a key to win the election and are likely to use this as fuel.

What’s Next:

Since this ruling is receiving criticism from both sides it is unlikely stay around. However, it has patient scrambling to find alternative care just in case. Some patients are travelling to other states in order to try and find treatment from other clinics. Many have already spent a lot of time and money for all of it to potentially fall through. The clinics that are continuing treatments have received a surge of requests as the law looms heavily over operations.

There is also concern of the ripple effect outside Alabama. This ruling is the first of its kind and it has members of both parties concerned that it creates a roadmap for other states to follow suit. As of right now, the United States Supreme Court is unlikely to get involved due to the fact that the interpretation does not involve a federal law. This could change as questions about how the law would be upheld continue to rise.

Be on the Lookout:

Since there are not many rulings of this kind out there, it will be important to follow Alabama’s Attorney General, the amount of fertility clinics that stay open or shut down, and the State House and Senate’s bills that would “protect” IVF from the ruling. There are many factors that are still being determined.