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Idaho lawmakers move to protect IVF as backlash grows against Alabama ruling

Ian Max Stevenson and Michael Wilner, Idaho Statesman on

Published in News & Features

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho lawmakers from both parties are moving to protect in vitro fertilization procedures in the state after an Alabama court ruled earlier this month that embryos produced through IVF should be treated legally as children, McClatchy and the Idaho Statesman have learned.

The momentous ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court said the southern state’s constitution provided “rights of the unborn” to “extrauterine children,” a decision that has put Republicans on the defensive after GOP-run legislatures passed laws throughout the country declaring rights for the unborn from the moment of fertilization.

Idaho, where a Republican supermajority controls the Legislature, has among the strictest abortion laws in the nation, banning the procedure with few exceptions.

“We definitely feel like something needs to be done in that area,” said Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, in an interview with the Statesman.

Vander Woude has paired up with Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise, whose son was born just over a year ago through IVF, a form of fertility treatment that allows a woman’s eggs to be fertilized with sperm in a lab and later implanted into a uterus.

“We recognize that this isn’t a partisan issue,” Green said. “This is about ensuring that those who want to bring life into the world have the means with which to do it.”


“We need to ensure that we codify IVF in state statute and protect it against any attacks in the future,” she added.

Lawmakers are being urged to take action by top fertility doctors in Idaho alarmed by the ruling in Alabama.

Physicians at the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine, the state’s main IVF provider, told McClatchy and the Statesman in a joint statement that their team was “both surprised and disturbed by the recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court.”

“The decision, which is unfounded by medicine and scientific principles, represents a very real threat to Alabama’s citizens’ access to modern fertility treatments and, in turn, deprives them of their fundamental right to build a family,” the ICRM statement said. “We hope that such a decision remains an outlier and is not repeated in other states, most notably, our own state of Idaho.”


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