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Biden calls Alabama IVF ruling "outrageous and unacceptable"

IVF concerns after Alabama ruling
Alabama Supreme Court ruling on frozen embryos sparks IVF concerns 02:46

Washington — President Biden on Thursday called the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are considered children under the law "outrageous and unacceptable." 

"Make no mistake: this is a direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade," Mr. Biden said in a statement, vowing to keep fighting for women's reproductive rights "until we restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every state." 

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, the state's largest hospital, said Wednesday it was pausing in vitro fertilization, or IVF, treatments as it evaluates the implications of the court's decision. 

"We are saddened that this will impact our patients' attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments," a statement from the health system said. 

The health system said it would continue performing egg retrievals, but would not take the next step in the fertilization process by combining eggs with sperm in a lab, resulting in embryos. 

Another clinic, Alabama Fertility Specialists, also said it was pausing IVF treatments "due to the legal risk to our clinic and our embryologists." 

The decision could have broad effects on the legality of IVF, which has helped women struggling with fertility get pregnant. During the process, more embryos are typically created than are implanted. The surviving embryos are then stored and can later be destroyed if a couple decides not to have more children.

The ruling stemmed from couples suing for wrongful death after their frozen embryos were destroyed when a hospital patient in Mobile, Alabama, dropped the containers they were stored in. 

Earlier Thursday, Mr. Biden's presidential campaign connected the ruling to former President Donald Trump, who reshaped the U.S. Supreme Court by appointing three conservative justices. 

"What is happening in Alabama right now is only possible because Donald Trump's Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade," Mr. Biden's campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said in a statement that warned the ruling would prevent couples from growing their families. 

Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated that point during a visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday. 

"When you look at the fact that the previous president of the United States was clear in his intention to hand pick three Supreme Court justices who would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade, and he did it and that's what got us to this point today," Harris said. 

"Individuals, couples who want to start a family are now being deprived of access to what can help them start a family," Harris added. 

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