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Biden, Harris Denounce Alabama Supreme Court After Ruling Frozen Embryos are Children

Biden: 'The disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable'

Biden, Harris Denounce Alabama Supreme Court After Ruling Frozen Embryos are Children

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris denounced a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court, which declared that frozen embryos created during invitro fertilization are children. 

The decision prompted two fertility clinics in the state to pause their IVF treatments.

The Democrats blamed the court's decision on the termination of Roe v. Wade, calling it a “direct result” of the United States Supreme Court’s 2022 decision.

Today, in 2024 in America, women are being turned away from emergency rooms and forced to travel hundreds of miles for health care, while doctors fear prosecution for providing an abortion,” said Biden in a statement released by the White House on Feb. 22. “And now, a court in Alabama put access to some fertility treatments at risk for families who are desperately trying to get pregnant. The disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable.”

Biden vowed that he and Harris were fighting “for freedom of women, for families, and for doctors” who care about women.

“We won’t stop until we restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every state,” he said.

Harris, who is currently traveling the country on a pro-abortion speaking tour, similarly criticized the Alabama Supreme Court.

“The decision by the court in Alabama is shocking and at the same time, post-Dobbs decision, not surprising,” Harris told reporters, per The Hill. “What we have seen in Alabama, it has now been attacked, and access to reproductive health care through IVF is being taken from countless individuals and families.”

She went on to blame former President Donald Trump for the court's decision.

"One must then ask, well, okay, how did it happen? And I would say, ask who’s to blame. And I’ll answer that question,” she said. “When you look at the fact that the previous president of the United States was clear in his intention to handpick three Supreme Court justices who would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade, and he did it. And that’s what got us to this point today.”

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 16 that a group of parents whose embryos were destroyed by a hospital patient could sue the medical facility under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act because “unborn children are ‘children’ under the Act, without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics.”

The decision was lamented by some medical professionals who expressed some concern about how the precedent could impact fertility doctors. 

Two fertility clinics in Mobile – Alabama Fertility Specialists and the Center for Reproductive Medicine – announced on Feb. 22 that they would pause their services, citing the “legal risk” to the clinics and embryologists.

“We are contacting patients that will be affected today to find solutions for them and we are working as hard as we can to alert our legislators as to the far reaching negative impact of this ruling on the women of Alabama,” Alabama Fertility Specialists said in a statement, per ABC News

Dr. Mamie McLean, who works for the clinic, said during an interview with Good Morning America that the Alabama Fertility Specialists were “concerned that this ruling has far-reaching consequences for what we feel is safe to freeze and safe to discard.”

“This ruling is so incomplete and it leaves those of us who are sitting face to face with patients ... with the inability to comment on what is safe and what is legal for them right now,” said McLean

Other states have considered enacting so-called “personhood” laws to protect embryos created through fertility treatments since Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

Louisiana has granted embryos legally protected status since 1986 even if the embryos have not been implanted in the womb. 

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