© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Frozen embryos are children, Alabama Supreme Court rules: 'Human life is an endowment from God'
Photo by Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Frozen embryos are children, Alabama Supreme Court rules: 'Human life is an endowment from God'

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos have the same legal rights as "unborn children." The ruling could impact the future of in-vitro fertilization in the state, according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Jill Parrish Phillips previously dismissed lawsuits filed by three couples who claimed that their frozen embryos were destroyed while being stored at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center by the Center for Reproductive Medicine, a fertility clinic. According to Phillips, the couples' embryos were not covered by the state's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

"The cryopreserved, in vitro embryos involved in this case do not fit within the definition of a 'person,'" the court ruled.

The incident occurred when a wandering Mobile hospital patient entered the area where the embryos were stored. According to the lawsuit, the rogue patient removed the embryos from the freezer and dropped them.

The hospital "allowed one of its patients to leave and/or elope from his or her room in the Infirmary's hospital area and access the cryogenic storage area," one of the lawsuits stated.

"[I]t is believed that the cryopreservation's subzero temperatures burned the eloping patient's hands, causing him or her to drop the cryopreserved embryonic human beings on the floor, where they began to slowly die," the complaint continued.

According to the filings, by the time hospital staff became aware of the incident, all of the embryos had already died.

The lawsuits, filed in 2021, accused the hospital of wrongful death, negligence, and breach of contract.

The Alabama Supreme Court recently reversed the lower circuit court's decision to dismiss the couples' case.

Supreme Court Justice Jay Mitchell explained that the state's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act "applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location."

"[T]he Wrongful Death of a Minor Act is sweeping and unqualified. It applies to all children, born and unborn, without limitation. It is not the role of this Court to craft a new limitation based on our own view of what is or is not wise public policy. That is especially true where, as here, the People of this State have adopted a Constitutional amendment directly aimed at stopping courts from excluding 'unborn life' from legal protection," Mitchell added.

In a concurring judgment, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker referenced scripture.

"When the People of Alabama adopted [the 'sanctity of life' provision of the state constitution], they did not use the term 'inviolability,' with its secular connotations, but rather they chose the term 'sanctity,' with all of its connotations," Parker stated. "This kind of acceptance is not foreign to our Constitution, which in its preamble 'invok[es] the favor and guidance of Almighty God,'… and which declares that 'all men … are endowed [with life] by their Creator.' The Alabama Constitution's recognition that human life is an endowment from God emphasizes a foundational principle of English common law, which has been expressly incorporated as part of the law of Alabama."

Parker cited Christian text to define the "sanctity of life," arguing that life begins at conception. He noted that "all human beings bear God's image from the moment of conception."

Justice Greg Cook, who held the only dissenting opinion, warned that the ruling could impact the IVF process in the state.

"No court — anywhere in the country — has reached the conclusion the main opinion reaches. And, the main opinion's holding almost certainly ends the creation of frozen embryos through in vitro fertilization ('IVF') in Alabama," Cook wrote.

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?