Alabama Has Restored IVF Access. but Legal Battles Are Likely Just Beginning.

Both Malizia and McLean expressed concern about what that continued legislative interest could mean.

“If there are further conversations that happen after this, we have pushed as hard as we can to be  part of those,” Malizia said. “I want people to have the flexibility to come up with their own thoughts and ideas about this process. But I do want them to have medical information. I want them to have accurate information about what this process is.”

McLean said she’s also heard questions about whether there should be a limit on how many eggs patients should be allowed to have fertilized. Imposing a strict number limit wouldn’t make sense medically, she said, since each patient has different needs based on their particular family’s fertility circumstances.

“We are specifically trained and have the experience to make decisions for each patient based on their own moral and ethical beliefs, as well as their clinical history and desired family size,” McLean said. “We reject the idea that there should be a one-size-fits-all legislation solution for IVF care.”

Meanwhile, some legislators suggested as recently as Wednesday night that, as long as state law did not address the heart of the Alabama court’s decision, the new law could not guarantee IVF providers could legally continue to provide care.

The court’s February decision resulted from its interpretation of a 2018 anti-abortion state constitutional amendment, which said the state must protect the rights of “unborn children.”

“We aren’t providing a solution here. We’re creating more problems,” said state Rep. Chris England, a Democrat, during the state House of Representatives’ final debate over the new law. “We have to confront the elephant in the room.”

The Association of Reproductive Medicine, a national organization, has been critical of the new Alabama protection for that reason, noting that under current Alabama law, embryos are still considered people.

“Without a more permanent and thorough fix, it will be difficult to recruit new physicians to the state and build their practices so they can continue to provide the best possible care to Alabamians,” Sean Tipton, the organization’s chief advocacy and policy officer, had previously said.

Democratic lawmakers suggested that the Alabama Supreme Court could weigh in soon, potentially overturning the new law. Already, a separate wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Alabama court concerning a different clinic’s alleged loss of embryos — and that case, England argued, could become a new vehicle for the state law to be overturned, and for clinics to be forced once again to halt care.

That is a looming concern for doctors, too.

“While the bill should allow us to return to immediate IVF care, ultimately the ruling is still here,” McLean said.

Get the best of what’s queer. Sign up for Them’s weekly newsletter here.