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House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen is committed to passing IVF legislation to reopen Alabama's fertility clinics

Alabama House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) expressed his strong support on Wednesday for legislative efforts to reopen fertility clinics after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling caused many physicians across the state to pause offering in vitro fertilization services.

"Legislation providing civil and criminal immunity to Alabama's fertility clinics performing IVF procedures is being fast-tracked and is expected to pass both the House and Senate quickly," Stadthagen said. "The immunity measure will provide IVF clinics with the reassurances they need in order to reopen their doors and resume services to couples attempting to have children."

Stadthagen noted that the members of the Alabama Republican House Caucus are strongly pro-life, but added that the GOP lawmakers focus their efforts on ensuring new life is protected and born into the world, not preventing it.

"Psalms 127:3 tells us that 'Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward,'" Stadthagen said. "The Alabama House and Senate are taking action to reverse the impact of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, and I am confident that action will be both swift and successful. We are going to right this wrong, and we are going to do it quickly."

On Thursday both the House and the Senate passed their own versions of bills that would give IVF clinics civil and criminal immunity in the aftermath of an Alabama Supreme Court decision which declared that embryos produced by IVF are human beings and have all the same rights as any other person. Since losing or damaging embryos is part of the IVF process several fertility clinics in the state closed last week as a result of that decision. The clinics then informed want to be mothers that their future treatments would be on hold until otherwise notified. The resulting political firestorm that saw hundreds of women and doctors descend on the capital resulted in this unexpected issue becoming the primary focus of the fourth week of the legislative session.

House Bill 237 (HB237) is sponsored by State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur).

"This bill would provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving goods or services related to in-vitro fertilization and this bill would provide for retroactive effect," said Collins.

Senate Bill 159 (HB159) is sponsored by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence). Melson is a practicing physician.

"This bill - the provisions only relate to in-vitro fertilization," Sen. Melson explained. "They provide civil and criminal immunity to a point and the immunity does not provide for damage or death of an embryo; so we are not going to give those coverage. Only in normal standard way of handling them. They are still going to be susceptible to be – I will just call it malpractice if something happens. It doesn't give them coverage for that."

HB237 passed the House on Thursday in 94 to 6 vote. SB159 passed the Senate on Thursday 32 to 0. Both bills could be in committee as early as Tuesday. Once one of the bills has passed both Houses it can be on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey's (R) desk for her consideration.

Stadthagen was elected Majority Leader in November 2022 by his Republican colleagues after they voted for his predecessor – Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) – to become Speaker of the House.

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