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Welcome to “The Quickie”

Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.

In today’s Quickie: Alabama Supreme Court ruling declares frozen embryos “children”.

PERSONHOOD LAWS THREATEN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE, INCLUDING IVF, ABORTION AND MORE: An Alabama Supreme Court ruling declaring frozen embryos “children” could create chaos for IVF patients and their health care providers — and is the clearest demonstration yet of the many ways personhood laws threaten reproductive care.  

How did we get here? In 2018, Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment stating that it is the “public policy of this state to ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child.” That amendment bolstered the Alabama Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act as applying to “all unborn children, regardless of their location” – meaning it can apply to an embryo that has implanted in a pregnant person — or one that is stored in a health care facility. The result is a ruling that is likely to reverberate across the country. As Barbara Collura, CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, told the Associated Press, “This ruling is stating that a fertilized egg, which is a clump of cells, is now a person. It really puts into question the practice of IVF.” 


For years, anti-abortion lawmakers have worked to add “personhood” language – provisions defining a fertilized egg as a “person” or “unborn child” – into state codes. This legislative session, state lawmakers across the country have introduced and are advancing a range of bills that include personhood language, including a Kansas measure allowing pregnant people to claim child support any time after conception and a wrongful death measure in Florida. Other state statutes have inserted personhood into tax credits, TANF eligibility, and fetal homicide laws. The reality is that these laws endanger the ability of people to decide when, if, and how to grow their families. As law professor Mary Ziegler writes for CNN, “The goal is to slowly build the case that a fetus or even an embryo is a person for every purpose and circumstance.” That means limiting reproductive health care choices and even criminalizing people for having abortions.

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