Florida lawmaker pulls bill on wrongful death of unborn children after Alabama IVF ruling

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida bill to allow people to file wrongful death lawsuits over the death of a fetus is being shelved because of the political fallout from an Alabama Supreme Court decision that frozen embryos are legally protected children.

Republican Sen. Erin Grall decided not to proceed with her bill Monday after opponents cited the Alabama ruling to raise questions about whether the legislation could be used to grant personhood to embryos.

“Although I have worked diligently to respond to questions and concerns, I understand there is still work that needs to be done. It is important we get the policy right with an issue of this significance,” Grall said in a statement released by her office.

Grall tried to ease fears by changing the bill language to define unborn child as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” She also included language that would have protected pregnant women from being held liable if they lost their embryo.

Opponents raised concerns when Alabama in vitro fertilization clinics began suspending operations after the Supreme Court ruling there. Grall’s bill had one more committee stop before being heard by the full chamber.

“This is a backdoor attempt at personhood. It's a very scary time. People across the country are talking about it, people are finally looking at it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book. “I think the Republicans across the country realize this is a problem. This isn't something they should be doing.”

A House version of the bill is ready for a vote by the full chamber but currently isn't scheduled for a reading.