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Alabama’s I.V.F. Protection Law Will Reopen Clinics but Curb Patient Rights

Published by New York Times. Read the full article here.

Here’s what to know about the legislation, which the Legislature approved overwhelmingly on Wednesday.

The Alabama legislature on Wednesday approved legislation intended to make it possible for fertility clinics in the state to reopen without the specter of crippling lawsuits.

But the measure, hastily written, does not address the legal question that led to clinic closings and set off a stormy, politically fraught national debate: Whether embryos that have been frozen and stored for possible future implantation have the legal status of human beings.

The Alabama Supreme Court made such a finding last month, in the context of a claim against a Mobile clinic brought by three couples whose frozen embryos were inadvertently destroyed. The court ruled that under Alabama law, those embryos should be regarded as people, and that the couples were entitled to punitive damages for the wrongful death of a child.

Legal experts said the bill, which Governor Kay Ivey quickly signed into law, is the first in the country to create a legal moat around embryos, blocking lawsuits or prosecutions if they are damaged or destroyed.

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