Alabama Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pro-Life Activists in Landmark Embryo Rights Case

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The recent ruling by Alabama’s Supreme Court has declared that frozen embryos should have the same legal rights as children, and disposing of them may be considered a form of wrongful death. The decision came about due to a lawsuit filed by in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients whose frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed. They accused the facility of violating the Wrongful Death of A Child Act by disposing of the embryos without their consent.

Associate Justice Jay Mitchell, in his opinion, stated that the wrongful-death law applies to all children, born and unborn, without limitation. He referred to a constitutional amendment adopted by the people of Alabama, which aimed to provide legal protection to “unborn life.” Chief Justice Tom Parker further argued that unborn human life is sacred, as declared by the public policy of the state, and their lives should not be destroyed.

However, Justice Greg Cook dissented and expressed concern that the ruling could lead to the end of IVF treatments in Alabama. He pointed out that the Wrongful Death Act does not specifically define the term “minor child” and questioned whether the common law recognized an unborn infant as a child capable of being killed or awarded damages for wrongful death.

Justice Cook argued that the ruling would make it unlikely for medical providers to continue offering services for creating and maintaining frozen embryos due to the fear of facing punitive damages under the Wrongful Death Act.

The decision demonstrates Alabama’s strong pro-life stance, which has been reinforced by recent legislation that effectively outlaws all abortions in the state, even in cases of rape and incest, unless the mother’s life is at serious risk.