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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Alabama Supreme Court Has the Power to Immediately Correct Its Erroneous Frozen Embryo Ruling

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on February 24, 2024

IMAGE: The all-white, all-Republican, Alabama Supreme Court is the laughing stock of the nation after it declared on February 16, 2024, that frozen embryos in a laboratory are "living children."

An Editorial Opinion


On February 16, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court screwed up royally when it declared that frozen embryos in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratory are “extrauterine children.”  The growing outrage around the country was immediate, intense, and bipartisan. 


In light of this controversial ruling, most Americans view the Alabama Supreme Court as a bunch of runaway political buffoons, which they are.


In a February 23, 2024, article, I explained the historical context and unspoken rationale for the Court’s bizarre and erroneous ruling.


When the Alabama Supreme Court makes a mistake of this magnitude with one of its rulings, there is a simple procedure for quickly correcting it.  The Court has the power to (a) withdraw its February 16, 2024, ruling and substitute a summary affirmance (pursuant to Rule 53(a)(1) and (a)(2)(F), Ala. R. App. P.) of the trial court’s ruling that rejected the concept that frozen embryos in a laboratory are “living children.”


This corrective action should be taken next week at the regular meeting of the Justices and released on Friday, March 1, 2024.  The new Order would simply read: "AFFIRMED. NO OPINION." The Order can be written in less than one minute.

This correction would immediately solve the nightmare problems the Court’s ruling created for IVF treatments in Alabama.


The Alabama Supreme Court utilized this “withdrawal and substitution” approach to correct a manifest injustice in the case of Ex Parte State Mutual Ins. Co., 715 So. 2d 207 (Ala. 1997).  I filed a petition with the Court to correct such an injustice in a class action case against an insurance company I was representing. After carefully studying my petition, the Court withdrew its erroneous April 4, 1997, ruling and substituted the correct ruling in its place on December 16, 1997.


The same “withdrawal and substitution” judicial action needs to happen with the Alabama Supreme Court’s IVF frozen embryo case, ASAP.


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