Alabama Couples Seek Ruling Against Law Shielding IVF Clinics

Two Alabama couples whose embryos were destroyed at a Mobile hospital are now challenging a state law that shields in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics from lawsuits, arguing that it is unconstitutional. The ongoing legal battle in this politically charged case underscores the fundamental pro-life principle that embryos deserve the same fundamental legal protections as any other children.

In March, the Alabama legislature rushed through a controversial law which attempted to exempt IVF clinics from all criminal or civil liability. That law was enacted in response to pro-abortion backlash against the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that recognized embryos as as children under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The landmark decision of the Alabama Supreme Court in LePage v. Center for Reproductive Medicine affirmed the personhood of embryos, acknowledging their right to life and protection under not just the Wrongful Death Act but also the state’s recently approved Human Life Amendment.

“These statutes constitute unlawful attempts at abrogating rights and remedies which were excepted out of governmental power when the People of Alabama voted in November 2018 to amend our Constitution’s Declaration of Rights with constitutional guarantees protecting unborn children,” argued James and Emily LePage and William and Caroline Fonde in their 166-page brief filed Monday in Mobile County Circuit Court.

The LePages and Fondes, whose embryonic children were killed due to the carelessnes of the IVF clinic, are challenging the constitutionality of the new state law that exempts IVF clinics from all civil and criminal liability, asserting that such blanket immunity for IVF clinics violates fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right to raise and rear children, and the right to equal protection under Alabama law. The parents contend that the legislature cannot strip unborn children involved in the IVF process – or their parents – of all the protections afforded by Alabama law, including the remedies provided by the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act and the Human Life Amendment.

The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Mobile Infirmary Medical Center were previously sued for wrongful death, negligence, and breach of contract by the LePages, Fondes, and Scott Aysenne and Felicia Burdic-Aysenne in separate lawsuits in 2021. The destruction of the couples’ embryos was caused by a wandering hospital patient who attempted to take the embryonic children.

In a new court case, Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Jill Parrish Phillips is being asked by the LePages and Fondes to rule the recent IVF law is unconstitutional. Judge Phillips had previously ruled against the couples, stating that frozen embryos are not children and dismissing the wrongful death claim. However, her decision was overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court, which rightly recognized embryos as having legal protections under Alabama law. That decision, while criticized by the mainstream media and even by many Republicans, was in fact, a critical affirmation of the pro-life belief that life begins at conception.

These cases in Alabama has drawn national attention and created a wave of fear mongering from the unregulated IVF industry. The Alabama Legislature’s subsequent legislation exempting IVF clinics from lawsuits was welcomed by many Republican with Texas Senator Ted Cruz even introducing federal legislation to protect the IVF industry.

However, many pro-lifers saw the politically motivated move to provide blanket immunity to the IVF industry as a betrayal of the state’s commitment to pro-life principles.

The legal battle surrounding this case highlights the fundamental conflict between the current unregulated practice of IVF in America and a consistent pro-life ethic.

As this case progresses, it raises crucial questions about the sanctity of life, the rights of parents, and the ethical implications of unregulated reproductive technology. The outcome could have profound implications not only for IVF practices in Alabama but also for the broader national debate over the personhood and rights of embryos.

From a personhood perspective, this case is a pivotal to ensure that every human life, from conception, is afforded the full protection and dignity it inherently deserves.

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