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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Alabama passes bills to protect IVF, but concerns remain

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Friday, March 1, 2024   

The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for providers and patients in certain cases.

Senate Bill 159 and its companion House Bill 237 passed swiftly despite debates surrounding immunity and personhood.

While this is a positive step that allows families to resume treatments, said Heidi Miller, development manager for the reproductive-justice group Yellowhammer Fund, they're still concerned with the limited timeframe offered by the bills, including the one sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence.

"So, it just feels like a very limited solution to me, and that's our stance as an org, is that it feels like very much like a Band-Aid on open wounds," she said. "And so, that's how we've kind of been looking at those bills, because Sen. Melson's bill similarly would be repealed on April 1, 2025."

Both bills would apply retroactively and be automatically repealed next year, which Miller said could affect families again. This comes after IVF programs around the state stopped offering the service over concerns about legal consequences following a 8-1 state Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled that frozen embryos are protected by the state's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act that protects children, regardless of location.

Acknowledging the temporary nature of the bills, Miller argued that a short-term solution is insufficient for people seeking IVF treatments, which sometimes can take months or years. She said they're urging lawmakers to take further action to safeguard the accessibility of IVF.

"For us to get the constitutional amendment - the, quote, 'sanctity of life' constitutional amendment from 2018 - back for a re-vote in front of Alabama voters," she said, "because that would be the long-term solution that would really protect IVF access."

Unless the constitutional amendment is repealed, she said, it could supersede any other law or code, specifically where the term 'child' or 'minor child' is not defined. Miller said the Yellowhammer Fund has resources on its website for people who want to know more.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, is sponsoring two measures, including a constitutional amendment, to clarify that an extrauterine embryo should not be considered an "unborn life" or "unborn child."


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