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February 21, 2024 03:40 PM UTC

Alabama Learns The Bitter Truth About "Personhood"

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

As Alander Rocha of the Alabama Reflector reports and you’ve probably seen hotly debated on cable news today, the Alabama Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could spell the end of in vitro fertilization treatments in that state, along with unknown consequences for families in the state who have frozen embryos in cold storage as a byproduct of IVF never intended to be used:

Patient advocates fear that a Friday ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court stating that frozen embryos outside the womb are “children” could be the end for in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the state.

In a majority opinion, Justice Jay Mitchell wrote that there was no exception for frozen embryos under an 1872 law allowing civil lawsuits for the wrongful death of children, or under a 2018 state constitutional amendment that required the state to “ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child.” [Pols emphasis]

“The upshot here is that the phrase ‘minor child’ means the same thing in the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act as it does in everyday parlance: ‘an unborn or recently born’ individual member of the human species, from fertilization until the age of majority,” Mitchell wrote. “Nothing about the Act narrows that definition to unborn children who are physically ‘in utero.’ Instead, the Act provides a cause of action for the death of any ‘minor child,’ without exception or limitation.”

In 2018, the Alabama legislature referred Amendment 2 to a statewide vote, which was approved by state’s voters by a 59% margin. The amendment made it “public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children,” which the Alabama Supreme Court invoked to rule that a fertility clinic had violated the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act by accidentally destroying a frozen embryo.

As shocking as this outcome may be, this could have been the next logical step for Colorado had any one of the several “Personhood” ballot measures beaten back by Colorado voters over the course of multiple elections had ever become law. Prohibition of a range of lifesaving medical treatments, forcing mothers to carry nonviable fetuses to term, even a ban on so-called “abortifacient” forms of birth control were all among the sweeping consequences of “Personhood” that fortunately in Colorado were never subjected to legal scrutiny post-passage.

In Alabama, a major consequence of feeling righteous over rational just made itself apparent.

That is unless you agree IVF is the work of the devil, in which case we probably can’t convince you otherwise.

Comments

3 thoughts on “Alabama Learns The Bitter Truth About “Personhood”

  1. I keep wondering what policy overreach will be sufficient to begin a slow revolution against the all-controlling Republican Party control of Governor, legislature, and judiciary in a variety of states.

    IVF is probably too specific and too rare to trigger a mass movement.  Anti-abortion moves seem baked into the political status quo.  Maybe, just maybe, when the legislature begins practicing medicine without a license and limits the ability to dispense birth control devices and medication….

     

    1. There really does need to be a federal medical malpractice statute covering legislators that dictate medical care procedures contrary to professional medical best practices or standards.

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