Unpacking the Implications of the Alabama Supreme Court Ruling

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 16 that frozen embryos are children after three couples sued a fertility clinic for wrongful death when a patient accessed the Mobile, Alabama freezer the embryos were in and dropped them.  The court determined in LePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic that the clinic’s failure to secure the storage area violated the state’s Wrongful Death Act because the frozen embryos were considered human beings.

Modern fertility treatments cannot continue in Alabama because of the legal risk to physicians and patients.  Fertility clinics there have paused in-vitro fertilization, commonly called IVF.  IVF is a popular pathway to parenthood for many singles and couples, so this ruling sent shockwaves across the country.  Critics of the ruling worry it has created a roadmap for groups and legislators around the U.S. who wish to nullify fertility treatments. 

For the moment, the legal ramifications for IVF only affect Alabama yet some legal scholars believe additional states will follow.  For example, Florida could adopt “personhood” statutes that say life, and rights, begin at conception.  The U.S. Supreme Court is unlikely to review the Alabama decision because it doesn’t include an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution or federal law. 

I have received many calls and emails after Alabama held that embryos are children.  Singles and couples want answers on how they can successfully start or expand their families.  IVF is an option for those who want children, and it can be used to avoid genetic diseases as well as employed by same-sex couples, or individuals who want children.  Cancer patients and survivors also rely on IVF to build families after treatment. 

For those looking to understand the contours of the legal issues here, our South Florida-based family law firm can help.  At Sara Horowitz PA, our goal is to reduce confusion and provide successful avenues for individuals and couples to expand their families.

Adoption and fostering a child are life-changing events for both the child and the adoptive parents.  We have the expertise you can rely on when navigating the legal nuances of adoption and foster care in Broward and Palm Beach Counties and can help you satisfy all the legal requirements.

Sara Horowitz PA understands the sensitive nature of your family law matter, so we keep you informed every step of the way along your journey to becoming parents, fostering a child or children, and expanding your family.  We work to minimize stress and maximize results while offering legal solutions that will work for you.

As dedicated and devoted adoption and foster care lawyers, we hope you will utilize the services of a skilled, knowledgeable, and empathetic family law attorney to ensure that all necessary steps are followed to achieve the best outcome.  We would be honored to discuss if, when, and how you decide to build a family.

Contact us at sara@horowitzlawpa.com or 954-300-1602 for a complimentary consultation.