Tommy Tuberville Still Has No Idea What That Alabama IVF Ruling Does

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Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, who apparently only learned what in vitro fertilization is last week, has a message for the people affected by the Alabama Supreme Court ruling: it’s all good.

The ruling is little more than a week old, but it has already wreaked havoc on Alabama’s IVF industry. Multiple fertility clinics have paused their IVF services, and at least one embryo shipping company has temporarily halted business in Alabama, as well.

When asked Tuesday about the ruling, Tuberville (who, again, has had more than a week to prepare some answers) looked visibly flustered.

“I support that people wanna have IVF,” he told ABC reporter Rachel Scott. His voice rose a bit at the end of his sentence, as if he were asking Scott to confirm that he was even talking about the correct topic.

“The state’s getting ready to pass a law,” he continued haltingly. “It’s gonna be ok. They’re gonna pass it, then it’s, then it’s, then it’s gonna be positive.”

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that embryos created through IVF can be considered children and are thus protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Since it’s common for fertilized eggs not to survive the IVF process, the ruling puts doctors and clinics at risk of being charged for wrongful death of embryos.

When asked about it last week, Tuberville at one point referred to the ruling as a “bill” and said he was “all for it.”

“We need to have more kids, we need to have an opportunity to do that, and I thought this was the right thing to do,” he said of the ruling.

When a reporter pointed out that the ruling actually made it significantly harder for people to have kids, Tuberville became tongue-tied.

The Alabama state legislature is rushing to pass a bill that would explicitly state embryos, fertilized or not, cannot be classified as children. But even if the measure becomes law, it is already coming too late for many people.

Since the ruling, at least three fertility clinics have paused IVF treatment in Alabama. The CDC lists just eight clinics in the state that provide assisted reproductive technology services.

Patients can still ship their embryos out of state and continue seeking IVF treatment elsewhere, although this increases the already considerable amounts of time and money required to get IVF. But Cryoport, one of the leading embryo shippers, said Friday it would pause shipping in and out of Alabama to avoid legal prosecution. This makes it even harder for people to seek out-of-state care.

People who are preparing to undergo IVF will now have to stop their extensive medication routines, which are part of preparing their body for embryo transfer, until they can find a new clinic that will treat them.

Scott told Tuberville Tuesday that she had spoken to a woman named Kimberly in Alabama. Kimberly was supposed to get her fourth and final embryo transfer on Wednesday. But her clinic was one of the ones that has paused IVF treatment, and now Kimberly will have to start the entire process over again.