Alabama Lawmakers Move to Protect I.V.F. Treatments

Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation that would protect in vitro fertilization, after a State Supreme Court ruling last week led some clinics to halt I.V.F. treatments and left many women in limbo.

The ruling, which declared that frozen embryos should be legally considered children, set off a scramble among leaders in both parties to preserve access to a crucial reproductive treatment for families who have struggled with infertility and for L.G.B.T.Q. couples who are seeking to have children.

The court’s ruling, handed down by an 8-to-1 majority, applies only to three couples who were suing a fertility clinic over the accidental destruction of their embryos. But its wording — paired with a fiery opinion from the chief justice encouraging lawmakers to push its scope further — has left many wondering about the possible wider implications for people seeking I.V.F. treatment.

At least three major fertility clinics in Alabama have halted I.V.F. treatments this week as doctors and lawyers assess the possible consequences of the ruling. On Friday, a major embryo shipping company said that it also was “pausing” its business in Alabama.

And while only Republicans sit on the State Supreme Court, many conservatives in Alabama and across the nation sought to quickly distance themselves from the ruling and any perception that they are out of step with the many Americans who support I.V.F. and access to reproductive medicine.

Alabama’s attorney general, Steve Marshall, “has no intention of using the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision as a basis for prosecuting I.V.F. families or providers,” Katherine Robertson, the office’s chief counsel, said in a statement on Friday.

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