Frozen embryos are ‘children,’ Alabama Supreme Court rules in couples’ wrongful death suits

Link to the full Opinion of the Court, concurring opinions and dissenting opinion.

The facts in a nutshell. Several couples had IVF embryos in cryo storage. A patient in the clinic/hospital somehow got in the storage room, actually grabbed the storage containers and then dropped them due to sustaining cryo burns, destroying the embryos in the process. The couples sued, primarily under the Wrong Death of a Minor Act, with an alternate pleading for negligence and wantonness.

I have read all 131 pages, including the Opinion of the Court and all concurrences and dissents.

I disagree with the Opinion of the Court, for the reasons given in Justice Cook’s dissent.

After reading the final dissenting opinion by Justice Cook, I concur with it. It starts at page 75 of the previous link and goes to the end of the document, page 131.

Justice Cook would have held that Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act would NOT apply, since the common law does not envision cryogenically frozen embryos as persons, thus the Plaintiffs would have no cause of action under that act.

However, he would also reverse the dismissal of the Plaintiff’s negligence and wantonness claims and allow them to proceed to trial on those grounds.

Justice Cook’s approach would also avoid what will likely be the end of the IVF industry in Alabama, which will be a likely side effect of the majority opinion.

Justice Cook, as well as member’s of the majority opinion, have invited the Alabama Legislature to step in and clarify these laws and the Legislature should accept their invitation and do so. Particularly since the Alabama Supreme Court ruling puts Alabama out of step with literally every other State in the Union.

That all being said, I now address Chief Justice Parker’s special concurrence, which runs from page 26 to page 48. You may notice that it reads more like a Sunday sermon and less like a legal opinion. Fortunately, no other Justice joined this special concurrence, as it would lead us squarely down the read to a theocracy. It breaks the cardinal rule of not engaging in constitutional interpretation if statutory interpretation is sufficient to handle the legal issue before you. It usurps the legislative role by declaring public policy. All in all, the special concurrence is an embarrassment, even by Alabama standards.


Just another time when “person” is used to deny a human life the basic, unalienable right to life.


If it triggers the end, it’s not the end of the industry. It’s just the end to the practice of over-producing embryos and freezing the surplus.

German law, for example, with the sting from it’s history of abuse of Jewish lives a generation prior, outlawed the creation of more than 3 embryos per IVF cycle, and requires implantation of all the produced ones that came out of the process alive. It’s an example that recognizes the life of the embryo, and an example that demonstrates we don’t have to store surplus lives in cryogenic suspension.

If an embryo is a person, then once multiple embryos are created and frozen, then presumably none,of them could be destroyed with anyone’s agreement. That would include any that might have indicated defects in the embryo.
They might as well prohibit IVF treatment directly.

Unless the legislature intended to prohibit all IVF treatment, then this result in the ruling is a mistake. It may be a mistake by the court or a mistake in the law that ties the courts hands.

The legislature needs to fix this by changing the law, either to exclude frozen embryos or flat out prohibit IVF treatment.

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More likely, they will just move out of state.

I would note that Justice Cook is an ordained deacon in a Baptist Church. Elected in a partisan election by the people of Alabama to sit on the Supreme Court. Conservative by any definition of the term. But he understands that the law must prevail over his religious beliefs. And the history and treatment of the common law in Alabama is fully consistent with the judicial opinion he wrote.

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When a pregnant woman is murdered, there is an additional charge of…



So? :man_shrugging:

Speaking of upholding Alabama law…

Of course, those with a political bent for allowing the killing of preborn will say that the Frozen Embryo case is (D)ifferent from the 2006 legislation because it’s not technically in utero.

The need for allowing the killing is strong many of them.


Well, this is probably going to spell the end of IVF in Red States, as one state tends to one up the other when something like this occurs. Soon, IVF should only be available in blue states, which is fine. Let each state make their own rules, you don’t have to have IVF available as it is an elective thing and having kids is not a right. If you can’t have one natural, maybe that is God saying you should adopt. I also think IVF should be offered only to a childless woman, if she already has a kid there should be no need.


I’ll repeat what I said earlier:

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It’s a sad sight how weak and pathetic these people are that they have to compensate by punching down on the most defenseless humans imaginable.

Not everyone gets to be a worth a ■■■■ as a grown adult though. :man_shrugging:


IVF is extremely expensive in the US, less so in Germany. The reason they harvest so many at once is to reduce overall cost. If you have to keep harvesting every time it fails, and it fails quite often, you are pricing out most couples.

That places a dollar value on a human life.

It commoditizes the ownership of a child.

You may think there is no problem with that. Others consider it sinister.

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No, it is just what a couple can afford to pay. If they can’t afford it in a red state, they go without children. If they live in a blue state, they can afford IVF and have children. No sweat off my back, not a huge fan of IVF for most couples.

Life is cheap to those who don’t know what a soul is.


You say, “No”, and then reinforce what I said.

Well, I do know that various Christian scholars, Jewish scholars, Islamic scholars and other religious scholars, both historical and contemporary, vary tremendously in when ensoulment occurs.

Some believe in ensoulment at conception, some at 40 days, some at quickening, some at birth and even some post birth.

For the those that believe in ensoulment at quickening, it kind of moots the whole “murder” argument, as there is no human to murder prior to ensoulment.


It costs money to deliver a child. It cost money to adopt a child. In the case of IVF it cost money to conceive a child.

It’s a fact of life. However it’s not necessarily a cost that needs to happen because bringing a child in this world is a choice in most cases.