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Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator co-sponsors bill to protect fertility clinics

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., talks with reporters as she arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., talks with reporters as she arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

A ruling by Alabama’s Supreme court is prompting action in Congress. U.S. Senator Katie Britt is co-sponsoring a bill that would protect invitro fertilization clinics. Alabama’s junior Senator wants to revoke Medicaid funding from any State that prohibits access to fertility treatment. The State’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children. That prompted IVF providers to stop treating patients. The Alabama legislature passed a law to protect clinic.

The so-called Protection Act does not compel any person or organization to provide IVF services, and it permits states to implement health and safety standards regarding the practice of IVF. Under the language of the legislation, states would be ineligible to receive Medicaid funding if they banned access to IVF. In a release, Britt said…

“…IVF is pro-family, and I’m proud to strongly support continued nationwide access to this pathway to parenthood for the millions of American couples facing infertility,” said Senator Britt. “As a mom, I know firsthand that there is no greater blessing than our children, and IVF helps families across our nation experience the joyous miracle of life, grow, and thrive. This commonsense piece of legislation affirms both life and liberty — family and freedom, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to enact it into law.”

APR earlier reported on the political messaging problems prompted by the Alabama Supreme Court ruling. “Well, you know, I think what has happened here is the Democrat Party and the mainstream media have forgotten that this was a court ruling,” John Wahl, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, told APR when the ruling was made back in April.

“I applaud the Alabama Supreme Court for recognizing that parents were victimized, embryos were destroyed, needlessly and recklessly. And they deserve a redress of grievances,” he said, “So, I think that Alabama Supreme Court made the right decision.”

Others don’t seem prepared to let the GOP off so easily…

“They've basically painted themselves into a corner by deciding that they were going to play with the anti-abortion wing of the United States,” said Robin Marty. She’s Executive Director of the West Alabama Women’s Center. The Tuscaloosa facility conducted fifty percent of the abortion in the State, before the end of Roe Versus Wade.

“We are in a place where it is even more extreme than just abortion, it is where you can no longer do anything with a fertilized egg,” said Marty. “This should be a alarming call to arms for any person who believes in bodily autonomy, because we said IVF was in jeopardy.”

“Yeah, the GOP has a real challenge right now,” said Cynthia Peacock. She teaches political communication at the University of Alabama. Her specialty is messaging, and she’s watching both sides.

“So we're seeing a lot of Republicans trying to do two things at once they're trying to distance themselves from a wildly unpopular decision made by the Alabama Supreme Court while also reaffirming their prolife bonifides,” She said.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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