Pro-Life Leaders Respond To Alabama IVF Ruling

(Oregon Right to Life) — Leaders in the pro-life movement are weighing in after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and stored in freezers are indeed children under state law. 

“The Alabama Court recognized what is obvious and a scientific fact – life begins at conception,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said in a statement shared with Oregon Right to Life. “That does not mean fertility treatment is prohibited. Rather it means fertility treatments need not carelessly or intentionally destroy the new life created.”

In its 7-2 decision on February 16, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a state statute permitting parents to sue for damages following the wrongful death of their child also “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location,” including “embryos kept in a cryogenic nursery.” 

“This Court has long held that unborn children are ‘children’ for purposes of Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act,” the justices said, adding that “unborn children who are located outside of a biological uterus at the time they are killed” are also protected under the state’s 1872 Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

The decision came after two sets of Alabama parents filed suit when an individual allegedly accessed a hospital freezer where embryos were stored and dropped them, causing their deaths. 

READ: What’s The Deal With IVF?

Leaders in the pro-life movement have taken the opportunity of the Alabama ruling to address some of the ethical issues surrounding IVF, a form of assisted reproductive technology in which a human egg is fertilized in a laboratory and then implanted into a woman’s uterus. Excess embryos are typically stored in cryogenic freezers or discarded. 

“A business model that by design leads to disposable human beings, deemed unworthy of life or too many to bother with, is fatally flawed, when we consider that each life deserves a chance,” Students for Life of America president and founder Kristan Hawkins wrote on social media. 

“Our love and acceptance of the people whose lives began with IVF does not mean we give rubber stamp approval to an industry that is not geared around ensuring that all lives conceived with the technology will thrive,” she said.

“America has less regulation of IVF than most of Europe,” Live Action president and founder Lila Rose pointed out in a post on X. 

She noted that nearly one million human embryos are currently stored in freezers nationwide, and that IVF procedures also permit the implantation of “multiple babies” who are then “‘selectively reduced’ – aka killed by abortion.”

“We treat embryos like commodities and dehumanize them frequently,” Rose said. “It’s time for this all to change.”

RELATED: About Those Frozen Embryos

The final implications of the Alabama ruling remain to be seen. 

Clinics in the state have already paused the procedures pending further clarity on the implications of the ruling, and advocates of IVF have expressed anxiety regarding the continued availability of the treatments in the state. 

However, as Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America pointed out, the state Supreme Court’s decision does not prohibit IVF treatments, though it does require that the human lives created in the procedures be treated with dignity and respect.

“Alabama or anyone concerned by this decision can look to Louisiana which has had a law in place since the 1980s that requires IVF be practiced in a more ethical way,” the group said in its statement.

In her remarks on social media, Hawkins emphasized that “[a]ll children conceived and born through IVF are valuable people, as are their brothers and sisters who remain in cold storage.”

“We hope that with IVF back in the news, a better conversation will begin about how to care for all preborn life – no matter their location,” she said.

Written by Ashley Sadler, Communications Director for Oregon Right to Life


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