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Senate approves amended version of Melson’s IVF bill

The Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would ensure criminal and civil immunity for people administering or receiving in vitro fertilization services.

The bill, SB159, was introduced by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) and passed with unanimous support on a 34-0 vote.of obsessed The bill that passed the Senate had important differences compared to the original interpretation of the bill.

Initially, the bill provided criminal and civil liability protection only to companies or individuals managing IVF services, and if passed, the law would expire on April 1, 2025.

While the bill was being considered in the Senate, Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison's amendment and Melson's replacement were adopted. These changes eliminated the 2025 sunset effect and added immunity for both caretakers and recipients of IVF services in the event of embryo damage or death.

“Relating to in vitro fertilization. To provide civil and criminal immunity to individuals or entities for death or damage to embryos when providing or receiving goods or services related to in vitro fertilization. And to have retroactive effect.” It's written in the bill.

A companion bill in the House passed Thursday as Republican lawmakers scramble to reopen IVF clinics and services. Many IVF clinics have suspended their services following the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling that frozen embryos are considered children.

The bill passed unanimously, but several Democratic lawmakers warned that it currently sidesteps the key issue of embryos being interpreted as children.

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Coleman-Madison said in effect that Republican lawmakers are now dealing with the unintended consequences of previous laws they passed. Mr. Coleman-Madison asked what the purpose of this bill was if it did not solve the problem.

Coleman-Madison asked, “If we're not solving the problems we caused, what are we doing?”

Melson said she is trying to make IVF services more accessible to women and is “worried about being able to open these fertility clinics.”

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said Melson and other Republicans' efforts to protect in vitro fertilization services are unintended consequences of previous policies they passed and supported. He continued to argue that it was a result of the results.

“Republicans on the other side screwed this up in 2019,” Singleton said. “It gave Alabama a reason to govern the way it does today…This is just a testament to all of you when you do things that have unintended consequences.”

In 2019, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the Protect Your Life Act, making abortion a felony and punishable by up to 99 years in prison. In 2018, a constitutional amendment bill was passed that “recognizes and upholds the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”

The bill will now go to the House, where it will likely move quickly through committee and onto the House floor.

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