If this nation wanted to protect children we'd curb gun violence and poverty -- not criminalize IVF

Heidi Stevens, Tribune News Service on

Published in Lifestyles

The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system is no longer performing in vitro fertilization procedures for fear of criminal prosecution following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos have the same status as children in wrongful death lawsuits.

The decision, which will likely have wide-ranging implications for IVF clinics in and beyond Alabama, is a devastating blow to the 1 in 6 couples who experience infertility.

“Disbelief, denial, all the stages of grief,” Dr. Michael C. Allemand, a reproductive endocrinologist at Alabama Fertility, told the Associated Press. “I was stunned.”

Legal scholars expect the ruling to be replicated in other states.

“I think there's been a broader strategy — the sort of next Roe v. Wade, if you will — for the anti-abortion movement,” UC Davis law professor Mary Ziegler told NPR after the ruling. “I think you'll see the anti-abortion movement making a gradual case that the more state courts — the more state laws — recognize a fetus or embryo as a person for different circumstances and reasons, the more compelling they can say is the case for fetal personhood under the Constitution.”

Justices on Alabama’s court cited language in the Alabama Constitution recognizing the “rights of the unborn child” in response to three couples suing for wrongful death when their frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed while in storage.


“Even before birth,” Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote, “all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”

What an interesting way to communicate that we value the rights and lives and wellbeing of children in this country.

And by interesting I mean hypocritical and hollow.

The poverty rate for children in the United States now stands at 12% — more than double what it was in 2021. That’s thanks in large part to Congress allowing pandemic relief programs, including the expanded Child Tax Credit, to expire.


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