Nikki Haley sides with Alabama Supreme Court on IVF ruling

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday that frozen embryos created through in-vitro fertilization are “babies,” siding with a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision that raised concerns among doctors and patients about the future of the procedure.

“Embryos, to me, are babies,” Haley told NBC News in an interview, adding that she used artificial insemination to have her son, a different process than IVF that doesn’t present the same complexities around creating embryos in a lab.

“When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”

“Unused embryos are often destroyed”

Classifying embryos as children under state law raises significant questions about whether the practice, used by families having trouble conceiving, could continue in states like Alabama.

Unused embryos are often destroyed, which could open families or clinics up to wrongful death lawsuits under this policy. Storing frozen embryos, meanwhile, is expensive.

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Later on Wednesday, the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced that it was pausing IVF treatments in response to the state Supreme Court ruling.

“We are saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments,” the university announced.

Asked if legislation and rulings like the one in Alabama could have a chilling effect on families using IVF to become parents, Haley said, “This is one where we need to be incredibly respectful and sensitive about it.”

“I know that when my doctor came in, we knew what was possible and what wasn’t,” Haley continued, adding: “Every woman needs to know, with her partner, what she’s looking at … ”


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