“Alabama is a theocracy!”

“IVF is now criminal!”           

“Mothers can go to jail for a miscarriage!”

“The sky is falling!”

That last statement is from Chicken Little, not the inconsolable leftists who uttered the first three, but from the way the latter is acting since the Alabama Supreme Court released its decision on IVF, you’d think the sky is falling. In fact, since the Alabama Supreme Court ruling decreed the personhood of embryos and applied the Wrongful Death of Minors Act to include them, the left – and surprisingly many on the right – lost their minds.

This largely stems from a deep misunderstanding of what actually happened. Let’s break it down:

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the parents whose embryos were killed by the negligence of the clinic would be able to recover losses under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act because embryos are children under that law.

UAB then shut down all its IVF clinics in response to this ruling. Not the Alabama Supreme Court, mind you. UAB shut down their clinics. Other IVF clinics not associated with UAB did not close. UAB held IVF hostages demanding a ransom of complete immunity from the Alabama Legislature.

And the legislature paid that ransom. Instead of standing up to UAB and demanding they reform their practices to be ethical, they gave in. The legislature gave full immunity to the IVF clinics for even intentional acts that harm embryos just because UAB said, “It’s all or nothing.”

The media just fueled the fire. They have women believing they can be prosecuted if they miscarry their baby because the embryo is a life.

As a mother who has had two miscarriages, I ask other women the following question: Did you intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently cause the miscarriage? If the answer is no, then you are just fine. That’s how the law works. You are only liable for intentional, knowing, reckless, or negligent actions.

Further, the ruling does not even consider criminal penalties, it just applies the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. So unless your husband is going to sue you for the Wrongful Death of a Minor because you threw yourself down a flight of stairs Scarlett O’Hara style, I think you are good.

Critics of the decision further claim the court was acting ahistorically. Because IVF did not exist at the time of the enactment of the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act in 1872, they claim its protection cannot extend to embryos outside the womb. This argument is akin to saying the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does not apply to AR-15s because they weren’t invented when the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Does the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech apply to the internet? That wasn’t around in the 18th century. Does the Freedom of Exercise Clause extend to Churches of Christ? Those didn’t exist in 1791 either. The fact is, principles adapt to science. Old laws can have new applications as time changes as long as the law itself does not change.

The Opposition argues that the Court’s ruling just shows that Alabama is a theocracy, a system of government where priests rule in the name of a deity, often God. Ancient Israel is an example of this. Yet last I checked, we have three branches of government ruling under the authority of a constitution. So where are people getting this idea?

In Chief Justice Parker’s special concurrence, he discussed the meaning of the word “sacred” or “sanctity” in our Sanctity of Unborn Life Amendment. This is an amendment to the Alabama Constitution already voted on and adopted by the people. Parker was merely discussing the meaning of the keyword used in this democratically adopted language. This language is what directs the interpretation of all other laws as per the purpose of that amendment.

The worst accusation of all on this issue comes from the left and is directed toward the soft Republicans unwilling to stand up for the lives of these embryos. They point out the hypocrisy of protecting life embryos while they’re in the womb but not while they are out.

Of course, they are saying this to reignite the abortion debate and get rid of the Sanctity of Unborn Life Amendment. But they are absolutely right about Alabama Republicans’ hypocrisy.

Republicans have a cognitive dissonance regarding IVF. While IVF is a good thing and pro-life in the sense that it does expand human life, unregulated IVF is a danger to life. Instead of doing the work to enact legislation that both enables IVF and protects life, people are protecting the money-driven clinics. And to keep from being held accountable, these clinics are gaslighting the people and lying to them.

Don’t let it work. Do your homework. Read the opinion. Chief Justice Parker laid out the laws of other countries that have more bioethical practices and regulations for IVF clinics, so the homework isn’t hard. It’s been done for you!

Laura Clark is a wife, mother, and community activist. She currently serves as the interim president of Alabama Center for Law and Liberty, a conservative nonprofit law firm that fights for limited government, free markets, and strong families in the courts.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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