May 19, 2024

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed SB159 into law. A so-called “IVF Protections” legislation, it buffers IVF clinics and providers from client lawsuits in the event they harm or destroy the embryos they produce.

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Facing pressure to get in vitro fertilization services restarted in the state, Alabama’s governor swiftly signed legislation into law Wednesday shielding doctors from potential legal liability raised by a court ruling that equated frozen embryos to children.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill after it was approved in a late-night session by lawmakers scrambling to address a wave of criticism after services were halted at some of the state’s largest fertility clinics. Doctors from at least one clinic said they would resume IVF services on Thursday.

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Republicans in the GOP-dominated Alabama Legislature opted to back the immunity proposal as a solution to the clinics’ concerns. But they shied away from proposals that would address the legal status of embryos created in IVF labs, action that some said would be needed to permanently settle the issue.

That “some” are the abortion activists who have sway over a good majority of Democrat and some Republican legislators. One such organization, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), has been at the forefront. ASRM advocates for abortion on demand, and in the wake of the June 2022 United States Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, ASRM published this policy missive.

At the crux of the issue: many of the proposals to ban or otherwise limit access to abortion care fail to protect the use of assisted reproductive technologies, including IVF, and so-called “personhood” measures (defining life as beginning at conception or fertilization) are multiplying across the nation, causing alarm bells to sound for medical practitioners and infertility patients alike

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ASRM didn’t like where the Dobbs decision might lead: halting IVF providers’ wanton removal and disposal of human embryos; so they readied themselves to undermine, and undermining is what they are doing. ASRM does not appear to care about IVF patients or doctors; they care about abortion. Alabama has codified in its laws, “no abortions, no exceptions,” and the Alabama Supreme Court decision in LePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic, Incstayed within those constitutional bounds and upheld the personhood of the product created by these clinics. This resulted in the ruling that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit could sue the IVF clinic that destroyed their embryos under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. No one shut down IVF clinics in Alabama. It was the choice of the IVF providers to cease their services. Making Alabama the target is the height of Democrat subterfuge. There are 11 states that have laws on the books against harming human embryos. So, what the Alabama Supreme Court decision allowed is neither new nor radical. 

As IVF is a means primarily available to the wealthy and well-heeled, it could well be the thought that those campaign donations from Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Huntsville (some of Alabama’s most monied communities) would dry up was too great to bear for Gov. Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth (who is rumored to be making a gubernatorial run), and other Alabama legislators who benefit. So, they acted in concert and did something to shield the IVF providers. Whether that something will actually prevent lawsuits from happening remains to be seen. 

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Democrats have stated that abortion will be on the 2024 ballot, and this manufactured IVF controversy is one of the many wedges being used to ensure this. How do we know this? Because ASRM, while praising the Alabama legislation, once again claimed that it was not enough. They want the Alabama Supreme Court decision that human embryos are persons rescinded. From another recent press release:

We are pleased that the legislation passed into law by the Alabama General Assembly will at least allow our members in the state to care for their patients, however it clearly offers only a temporary solution. It fails to correct the underlying mistake the Court made when it conflated an in vitro fertilized egg with a child

Then, ASRM issues its threat that their people will fall in line and vote accordingly.

Time and again, reproductive health access has proven popular at the kitchen table AND the ballot. America’s elected officials fail to heed that warning at their peril. 

On Wednesday, ASRM announced another coup: President Joe Biden will include IVF protections in his State of the Union address on Thursday.

Protecting access to IVF care is expected to be a major theme of the State of the Union on Thursday. The outpouring of outrage in the wake of the misguided decision of the Alabama Supreme Court equating fertilized eggs with children has been unprecedented. The decision effectively shut down IVF care in the state and has led to a huge mobilization of fertility care supporters around the country. 

 The nation’s elected officials have responded. The Biden administration, Congressional leaders, and state legislators of both parties have issued statements in support of IVF, met with patients and physicians, and advanced legislation designed to protect IVF access. ASRM and its members are grateful for the leadership of President Biden, members of his Cabinet, and legislative leaders. 

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Democrat lawmakers, under the sway of ASRM, have created a wedge issue. Its goal: to erode Dobbs’ impact. ASRM thanked Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and other Democrat legislators who will have as their SOTU guests “prominent people in the fertility community.” This is window dressing and a solid Democrat tactic: Muddy the issue for the purpose of moving abortion back under federal control. Sadly, Republicans continue to play the game instead of educating themselves and going on offense for Life. 

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