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Alabama IVF Ruling: Will It Divide Devout Christians?

Alabama Supreme Court’s new ruling considering embryos as children is causing chaos in the US.


Written by Rachel Davis

On Feb 27, 2024 – 4 minutes read

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A new ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court defined embryos as children and stated that a person could be held responsible for accidentally destroying an embryo. This decision has created chaos in the US over reproductive medicine. The future of IVF treatments is at stake due to the new ruling. Reports suggest that healthcare providers are slowly suspending IVF services.

Medical experts have already warned that the ruling may negatively affect fertility treatments causing a loss of hope for several couples. People like Margaret Boyce are thrown into one of the biggest dilemmas of their lives because of the ruling.

The Reason Behind The Ruling

Alabama IVF Ruling

The root cause of the ruling was a 2020 case filed by three couples. The three couples filed a wrongful death lawsuit as their embryos were lost from a fertility clinic. A patient who had access to the place where embryos were stored, handled, and accidentally dropped them. The couple filed a case against the Center for Reproductive Medicine and the Mobile Infirmary Association under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The Act which included the fetus in the rule, didn’t give a clear mention of the embryos used for IVF treatments. 

A lower court ruled that an embryo does not qualify as a child or human, rejecting the further movement of the case. However, the ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the couples stating that frozen embryos are also considered as children.  The rule stated that the wrongful death law is applied to all unborn children regardless of their location. Chief Justice Tom Parker also stated that all human beings have the image of God, even before birth, and that their lives cannot be destroyed without erasing the glory of God

The Resultant Chaos On IVF Treatments

The rule does not ban or illegalize the IVF treatments in Alabama. However, it has caused chaos and confusion in the healthcare sector. The clinics and medical workers who offer IVF services are in fear of prosecution. 

During the IVF treatment, an embryo is fertilized externally, which is then transferred to a woman’s uterus. The treatment does not offer guaranteed results. The embryos which are inefficient are often frozen or gradually destroyed. The ruling hence creates confusion as these procedures can also be considered under the wrongful death lawsuit. The use and storage of embryos by the clinics are now under question. 

The director of state policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Elisabeth Smith stated that all IVF embryos cannot be used for the treatment. She said that granting legal personhood to embryos can have disastrous consequences, resulting in the abolishment of a treatment that many couples look forward to.

Who Is Margaret Boyce

The 32-year-old Margaret Boyce is an Alabama citizen. Margaret who lives with her husband and son faced unexplained infertility for the second time.  She has been under treatment and has been taking fertility drugs for 10 months. Margaret was days away from her first IVF appointment when the Alabama Supreme Court passed the ruling. The rule has turned her life upside down throwing her into a great dilemma.

Margaret believed that giving a sibling was the greatest gift she could give to her child. But now her dream is at stake. She said that the journey of becoming parents is different for different couples and the ruling has added more unnecessary anxiety to something that was already hard. 

Being a Christian devote, Margaret viewed the IVF treatment as a method to produce life. But the ruling has made it even more difficult. The ruling has also started to create a divide among the Christian devotees. While a group considered all sorts of abortions illegal, devotees like Margaret are at stake. 

Read more: How to Increase Progesterone for a Healthier Pregnancy?

A conservative Christian legal group, The Alliance Defending Freedom, considered the ruling as a tremendous victory for life. Some other anti-abortion activists welcomed the ruling but also acknowledged the state of devote couples with anti-abortion views and said they would never condemn them. They acknowledged the situation as a dilemma and hence have no satisfactory answer.

  1. Wikipedia (n.d) In-vitro fertilisation[Online] Available At:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_fertilisation

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Rachel

Hi! I am Rachel; a mom and a hair and makeup artist. I am very old-school and I love sharing my experiences on parenting, marriage, and daily life hacks. What is more fun than that! I believe that to take care of anything, you have to love and give your heart and soul to it. Writing has been my passion ever since I was little and it’s the best way I express myself – my thoughts and dreams. Here, I write about everything that I love.

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