Legislation granting immunity to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics in light of a recent State Supreme Court decision could come before the House and Senate for final passage as early as Wednesday.

In a case originating from MobileLePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic, Inc., the Alabama Supreme Court held in a 7-2 decision that parents of frozen embryos killed at an IVF clinic when an intruder tampered with a freezer may proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic for alleged negligence. 

The Court also held that Alabama's Sanctity of Life Amendment, ratified in 2018, would require the Court to interpret the law in favor of protecting the unborn. The amendment states, "the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life."

The House and Senate health committees amended and passed both versions of the IVF immunity bill, setting up a final passage vote in both houses. Gov. Kay Ivey only needs to sign one of the bills for it to become law. With the Senate poised to address the controversial school choice legislation on Wednesday, the House version would be the likeliest pick to end up on Ivey's desk by Wednesday.

Several lawmakers have expressed a desire to see Ivey sign the legislation by Wednesday, and Ivey may want the issue handled before U.S Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) addresses Congress in a GOP response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union on Thursday.

State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) is carrying the bill in the Senate, and State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) is carrying it in the House. The legislation would provide civil and criminal immunity to persons providing goods and services related to in-vitro fertilization, except for intentional acts or omissions not arising from or related to IVF services. The bill would also apply retroactively except in cases already undergoing litigation.

The new amendments would allow for compensatory damages for damage to or death of an embryo brought against the manufacturer of goods used to facilitate the IFV process or the transport of stored embryos. Damages are calculated as the price paid for the IVF cycle. The amendment would also prevent criminal charges against a manufacturer.

According to Melson, a manufacturer in this context would apply to those who provide goods used in IVF clinics and embryo transport.

During the debate in the Senate committee, State Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook) expressed an increasingly common sentiment among lawmakers, desiring to see a close look at IVF practices and regulations.

State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia) voted against the amended legislation, saying he held his nose to vote for the Senate version and that he had a problem "assigning a value to a life of just the cost of the procedure."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.