Biden administration responds to Alabama's IVF ruling

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the Alabama Supreme Court's recent ruling that frozen embryos are considered children "shameful" during a Feb. 26 press briefing. It was the first time the White House responded to the decision that halted IVF care throughout the state.

"With the latest decision out of Alabama, IVF …  is now under attack," Ms. Jean-Pierre said during that press briefing. "Since the decision came down, Americans have read the devastating reports of families seeking fertility care who don’t know what to do or where to turn. Doctors are afraid of prosecution, fertility clinics are halting operations, and families in other states are worried they might be targeted next."

She added that clinicians and policymakers will be monitoring the movement of the Life at Conception Act, a bill currently in the House of Representatives that seeks to define Constitutional protections for fetuses beginning at the "moment of fertilization." The bill does not seek to prosecute women over the death of an unborn child, though.

The policy is one that could upend IVF and other reproductive care nationwide if it becomes law. 

The bill, "would eliminate reproductive freedom for all women in every state and nationalize the same policies that resulted from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling," she said.

Since the ruling, the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system is continuing egg retrieval procedures for patients at this time, but will not continue with the other steps in the process over fears of criminal prosecution for its patients and providers.

"Our commitment to our patients has not wavered; but we must comply with the law, and want to ensure that you and our team members are protected from any type of prosecution," the health system stated in an update. 

Alabama State Sen. Tim Melson, who is also chairman of its Healthcare Committee, has proposed a bill that would restore IVF treatments in the state to give clarity to providers. 

The drafted bill states "any human egg that is fertilized in vitro shall be considered a potential life but shall not for any purposes be considered a human life … unless and until the fertilized egg is implanted into a woman’s uterus and a viable pregnancy can be medically detected," according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars