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Why Alabama’s Abortion Law Includes an Exemption for Infertility

Lawmakers have learned that banning the destruction of embryos in the IVF process dooms legislation.

Protesters in Montgomery rally against Alabama’s latest abortion law on May 19, 2019.

Protesters in Montgomery rally against Alabama’s latest abortion law on May 19, 2019.

Photographer: Julie Bennett/Getty Images

Alabama’s new blanket ban on abortion “protects the sanctity of unborn life,” with one curious exception: The law deems only fertilized eggs inside a womb worthy of protection, not ones routinely destroyed in the process of fertility treatment.

“The egg in the lab doesn’t apply,” Clyde Chambliss, state senator and sponsor of the abortion bill, said during the Alabama legislative debate. “It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”