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Alabama Supreme Court Rules Embryos Are “Children” by Citing Bible Passages

“Unborn children are ‘children,'” the Alabama Supreme Court said in its ruling.

Frozen human embryos are pictured in a facility in New York on January 1, 1997.

The Alabama State Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos should be given the same legal rights as children.

The ruling furthers the errant “personhood” movement that purports fertilized eggs are human beings, an argument which has been used to promote anti-abortion laws across the country. At least 11 states have passed laws defining personhood as beginning at fertilization.

The case focused on a specific incident at an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic in Mobile, Alabama, where a patient made an unauthorized entrance into a room where frozen embryos were being stored. The patient ended up destroying a number of embryos, resulting in a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic from a couple whose embryos were affected.

A lower court ruled that the wrongful death lawsuit couldn’t proceed as the embryos weren’t people. However, all but one of the justices on the state Supreme Court disagreed, stating in their ruling that the lawsuit could move forward.

The court ruled that “unborn children are ‘children,'” giving embryos the same legal protections afforded to babies and other children under state law.

The court cited a 2018 state ballot initiative in which Alabama voters granted personhood rights to unborn fetuses. After a ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2022 overturned abortion protections that were established in 1973 by Roe v. Wade, Alabama’s amendment to its constitution took effect.

But it wasn’t until Friday that the state Supreme Court applied the amendment to IVF centers, a move that critics say will make things more difficult for Alabamans struggling with fertility.

IVF works by manually fertilizing eggs with sperm in a lab. A fertilized egg is then placed in the uterus, with the remaining eggs slated for disposal after impregnation.

With this latest ruling, the precedent is now set to allow a lawsuit to ban or curtail IVF treatments entirely.

“We’re going to have a situation where people being able to get care for their infertility is going to be so much harder in Alabama, and not because we’re putting more protections in place, because the way the court has decided the status of a fertilized egg,” said Barbara Collura, CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, speaking to the Alabama Reflector.

Notably, in a concurring opinion with the court’s majority, Chief Justice Tom Parker cited the Bible, a move that is in clear violation of the separation of church and state.

“The theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama” through the 2018 ballot initiative encompasses the belief that “God made every person in His image,” Parker wrote in one passage.

“We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness,” Parker added in another.

Critics lambasted the chief justice’s statements and the court’s overall judgment.

“This is not pro-life. This is not helping people have families. This is about reproductive control and a political agenda,” said fertility doctor and social media personality Natalie Crawford.

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