April 23, 2024

The Alabama state supreme court ruling in February that declared frozen embryos are children, effectively ending in vitro fertilization procedures in the state, is still wreaking havoc, despite recent state legislation that was supposed to protect the practice. 

Infirmary Health, a health care system in the city of Mobile, will stop IVF procedures at the end of 2024 due to litigation connected to the ruling, the Alabama Reflector reported Wednesday. The clinic, which was one of the health care groups sued in the initial case, faced even more lawsuits after the court ruling. 

“In order to assist families in Alabama and along the Gulf Coast who have initiated the process of IVF therapy in the hopes of starting a family, Mobile Infirmary has temporarily resumed IVF treatments at the hospital,” Infirmary Health said in a statement. “However, in light of litigation concerns surrounding IVF therapy, Mobile Infirmary will no longer be able to offer this service to families after December 31, 2024.”  

In March, Alabama’s legislature passed a law that extended criminal and civil immunity to IVF clinics for their work. But the legislation does not address when life begins, a sticking point that Infirmary Health noted at the time. Since not all embryos survive the IVF process, that could still leave room for lawsuits against the health care providers.

The Alabama court ruling has had a massive ripple effect. Donald Trump criticized the court ruling, Representative Nancy Mace put forward an inconsequential, non-binding bill claiming to support the procedure, and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has been put on the spot regarding why Republicans haven’t decisively acted to support IVF.

Just last week, a Democrat, Marilyn Lands, won a special election for the Alabama state House in a deep red seat. Lands ran on protecting access to abortion and IVF.

The ruling and ensuing events are a warning to other states regarding both health care and political upheaval. Democrats are attempting to capitalize on the pro-IVF momentum, ensuring that the treatment will remain an issue in November.