Republican files bill to protect in vitro fertilization in Kentucky 

Republished from Kentucky Lantern


FRANKFORT — Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a staunch opponent of abortion, filed a bill Wednesday aimed at protecting access to in vitro fertilization in Kentucky.

Senate Bill 373, which is not yet online, says any facility or “procedure related to in vitro fertilization shall not be liable” for damages “to a patient or patient’s surviving spouse or partner resulting from the loss of a human embryo, except in cases of negligence or wanton, willful, malicious or intentional misconduct.” 

It also protects health care providers “performing any procedure” related to IVF from being criminally charged. IVF is used to treat infertility, according to the Mayo Clinic, and can help other people trying to get pregnant to do so. 

This comes a day after Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong, a Louisville Democrat, filed a similar bill in response to a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court stating that frozen embryos are children

Some worry this ruling will deter people in Alabama from attempting to conceive children via IVF, which sometimes involves freezing embryos for future attempts at insemination. Several clinics in Alabama, including the University of Alabama Birmingham, have paused IVF treatments and embryo transfers in response to the ruling.

Westerfield’s filing comes as he and his wife are expecting triplets, he announced in January. He said at that time on the Senate floor that they adopted and transferred embryos for the pregnancy. His 6-year-old son is an “embryo adoption” baby, he said. 

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kentucky Lantern maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jamie Lucke for questions: Follow Kentucky Lantern on Facebook and Twitter. Kentucky Lantern stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Donate to Kentucky Lantern here.