Recognizing Baby Steps – Part 2

In a previous article of mine, Recognizing Baby Steps[1] a news article was reviewed where it was reported that a pregnant woman in the state of Texas was given a ticket for driving her car in the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane.  According to the statute, two or more persons are required in the vehicle to legally use this lane.  She is going to court to contest the ticket.  Her argument is simple: she was pregnant and thus there were two persons in the vehicle.  The argument was based on a recent Texas law recognizing the fetus as a living human being.  She says she is not political by nature and doesn’t seek any special recognition.  Texas has given her child legal status as a person and she only asks that she/he be recognized as a person under all legal circumstances.  A novel argument to be sure, but certainly logical.

Just days ago (February 16, 2024), by a vote of 8 to 1, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law.[2]  This decision was in response to a couple who sued the medical facility that stored their frozen embryos.  An apparently mentally ill patient broke into and vandalized the lab where the frozen embryos were kept and destroyed several of them.  The parents of the embryos sued the laboratory for the wrongful death of their children.  They initially lost the case in court but, on further appeals, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the embryos should be considered children under Alabama law.

The response from the pro-choice side of the political spectrum was as expected.  One particularly extreme view, of many, was that, “If embryos are considered children, then from the moment of conception any and all women who have an embryo inside them could be subject to child abuse, manslaughter or even murder charges for virtually anything that they do that might be construed as being harmful to that child, including many forms of birth control.”[3]

From a practical perspective the most immediate consequence of the Court’s decision is that several medical facilities around the country have halted their IVF (in vitro fertilization) programs for fear of liability for damaged or lost embryos which might now be seen as real people.

The specter of politics has already become evident among politicians who are traditionally strongly supportive of pro-life issues.  When questioned about the embryo loss numbers, the governor of Texas, reliably strongly pro-life, stated, “I have no idea mathematically — the number of frozen embryos, is it one, 10, 100, 1,000? Things like that matter.” Unfortunately, this was less than the usually strongly pro-life answer one would have expected. Former President Donald Trump, also reliably pro-life, said that he supported IVF and that Alabama lawmakers should act to protect it.  And the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate campaign arm of Republicans, said the party’s candidates should “align with the public’s overwhelming support for I.V.F.”[4]

This decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is only days old, but the political battle has already reached near-nuclear levels.  The full consequences will likely not be known for years.  However, the decision by the Alabama Supreme Court moves the anti-abortion, and pro-life, struggle forward one more baby step at a time.


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law on March 6, 2024 protecting in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments after a February decision by the state Supreme Court led some fertility clinics to pause their procedures.

The governor signed a bill into law late Wednesday that offers protections for in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients and providers soon after it was passed by the Republican-led state Legislature.

The law says it will “provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization.”

Sometimes baby steps take a step back, but we still move forward in that the Alabama Supreme Court ruling is still on record that an embryo is a child.