Alabama Senate passes IVF protection bill amid Catholic outcry

ivf Credit: Shutterstock

The Alabama Senate unanimously passed a bill granting immunity to in vitro fertilization (IVF) providers in cases of death or injury to unborn babies during the IVF process.

The Republican-majority Senate passed the bill in a 32-0 vote on Friday, just over a week after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that unborn babies conceived through IVF are human children protected under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

Introduced by 10 Republican state senators, the bill bypasses the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act to ensure that “no action, suit, or criminal prosecution shall be brought or maintained against any individual or entity providing goods or services related to in vitro fertilization.”

Similar to its counterpart in the House, the proposed bill will be retroactive and is scheduled to automatically expire on April 1, 2025.

According to USA Today, lawmakers aim to get the bill to the governor’s desk to be signed into law by Wednesday. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, has not yet signaled whether she intends to sign the bill.

What is IVF?

IVF is a fertility treatment in which doctors fuse sperm and eggs to create human embryos and implant them in the mother’s womb without a sexual act. Embryos that are intended to be implanted later are frozen. Undesired embryos are routinely destroyed or used for scientific research, which kills those preborn children.

This has led to the killing of millions of human embryos and 1 million embryos being kept frozen in labs indefinitely.

The Catholic Church is staunchly opposed to IVF because it separates the marriage act from procreation and destroys embryonic human life.

Snead slams Alabama legislature's 'panicked reaction'

Speaking with “EWTN News in Depth” on Friday, Carter Snead, director of Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture said the bill's passage indicates a “very strange, panicked reaction” from Alabama lawmakers who are now on the cusp of providing “blanket immunity to an entire industry in the state of Alabama without any kind of nuance, without any complexity, without any subtlety.”

Snead said that the IVF protections enshrined by the bill are “unjust” to both unborn babies and IVF patients.

“It’s strange to single out one industry, one aspect of medicine, for this kind of civil and criminal immunity,” the Alabama native added.

“It’s unjust from the perspective that it singles out in vitro embryonic human beings and it puts them beyond the protections of the law. It’s also unjust to the families … because there are people who want to build their family using IVF, and now there’s nothing they could do if someone in the IVF context tortuously harms or destroys their unborn child, so long as the unborn child has not yet been transferred to her mother’s uterus.”

In an earlier email referenced on X, Snead lamented that “For a state legislature that has courageously defended the intrinsic equal dignity of every human being regardless of age, size, location, condition of dependence, or social status, this is a shocking error in judgment.”

What does the Church in Alabama have to say?

As both Democrats and Republicans rush to support IVF, Donald Carlson, a representative for the Diocese of Birmingham, told CNA that the Catholic response to IVF is very “straightforward.”

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“Human life begins at conception and that life has to be protected in all its forms,” Carlson said.

Carlson said the diocese would not condone the legislation because it contrasts with clear Catholic teaching on IVF.

Birmingham Bishop Steven Raica, Carlson noted, recently called the longing for children “a truly noble desire” but said that “while the in vitro fertilization industry presents itself as the only solution for couples yet unable to have children, the practice is fraught with many unintended consequences and unfettered risks that often are overlooked.”

“That’s really his thoughts on this,” Carlson said. “Bishop Raica encourages couples to continue in their journey towards fulfilling their dreams to have a family and to seek ethical ways to accomplish that goal.”

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