HHS secretary: Alabama’s frozen embryo ruling will have ‘heart-wrenching consequences’

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CORRECTION: HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was responding to the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision with his Wednesday social media post. A previous version of this article misinterpreted his post.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday decried the Alabama Supreme Court’s recent ruling that frozen embryos and fertilized eggs are children under the law.

Becerra posted on X,, formerly called Twitter, in response to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) health care system’s decision to pause in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments as it reviews the legal repercussions of the ruling.

“I’ve long made clear that overturning Roe was just the beginning of the attacks on women’s health, privacy, & autonomy — and that’s exactly what we continue to see,” Becerra said.

“The decision in Alabama will have heart-wrenching consequences for women & their families.”

Alabama’s Supreme Court issued it’s ruling on Monday, finding that the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.”

“Even before birth, all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory,” Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote in a concurring opinion. “We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness.”

The UAB health system said Wednesday it is evaluating the decision by the court, but would immediately pause IVF procedures.

“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,” a health system spokesperson said.

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley also commented on the Alabama Supreme Court decision Wednesday, saying that frozen embryos created via IVF are “babies.” However, she later clarified that she wasn’t necessarily agreeing with the decision.

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