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Frozen embryos are children, according to Alabama Supreme Court

Alabama Supreme Court Justices arrive during the State of the State address at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.

Alabama Supreme Court Justices arrive during the State of the State address at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.

Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos should be considered children. The case involved a 2020 incident in an Alabama hospital when a patient removed frozen embryos and dropped them on the floor.

The ruling complicates the legality of in vitro fertilization and could dissuade fertility doctors from practicing in the state out of fear of being brought up on criminal charges.


One in six families experiences infertility, and if they choose in vitro fertilization, it is standard practice to extract as many eggs as possible from a woman, and then fertilize them to create embryos before freezing them. The ruling gives these cells the same legal protections as a fetus in the womb or a newborn child.

The Biden administration is condemning the ruling and using it to amplify calls for Congress to codify abortion protections into law.

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