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Reed, Ledbetter detail Alabama lawmakers’ approach to IVF: ‘Be very focused, get wise counsel’

Yellowhammer News hosted its annual panel discussion Wednesday with the President Pro Tempore of the Alabama Senate and Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.

Now in year two of the quadrennium, it was the second installment of the event featuring Pro Tem Greg Reed and Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter alongside one another as leaders of their respective chambers.

Also on Wednesday, both House and Senate committees overseeing health-related legislation advanced bills designed to safeguard families and providers of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the days following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that called the legality of the process into question. 

Pro Tem Greg Reed offered a play-by-play of how GOP senators handled the gravity of the situation as it unfolded last week and the process by which they furnished a solution. 

“This was a very significant issue to me and Alabamians,” said Reed (R-Jasper). “It was a very emotional topic, and rightfully so. But I don’t have, we don’t have, many of our members do not have, a medical background. We have two medical doctors that are in the Senate: Tim Melson, Larry Stutts.

“We had a section in our caucus meeting where we stopped everything we were doing in the caucus meeting. Those two men took over the conversation, and for 20 minutes, explained what is going on here and why this is such an important issue – what happens with the procedures, why the procedures are done the way they are, all the elements associated with it – which was exactly what we need to do on that topic.

“First off, what we tried to tell our members was, ‘slow down, even though it’s very emotional, we can’t make a bad decision on something just over the weekend.’ So, we slowed down and we took a look at it.” 

RELATED: Alabama GOP lawmakers advance solution to protect IVF services – Democrats push for referendum on personhood 

Ledbetter shared that a neighbor’s family member called him to say she and her husband were about to start the clinical process just a week after the ruling was handed down.

“All the money that they had spent, and all the shots and everything she had taken to get ready, if she couldn’t do that, she loses all of that,” Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said. “All of us have been affected by it, including myself, and families that have went through the process. I had calls from a number of our members saying, ‘hey, what are we gonna do? This is important to people in my district, and important to the families, important to my family.’

“We knew we had to do something.”

RELATED: Governor Kay Ivey: In vitro fertilization ‘fosters culture of life’

Reed and Ledbetter offered assurance that further action will take place in the coming days, and commended their members for prioritizing it during a busy session. Each leader also expressed why untangling the ruling from well-established principles around the sanctity of human life in the state is a worthy task for lawmakers. 

“Alabama’s a pro-life state,” Reed said. “Our people voted on a constitutional amendment to say, ‘that’s who we are.’ At the same time, we want Alabama families to grow and flourish. Alabama is the best place in the world to be able to raise a family. We just needed to slow down a little bit, be very focused, get wise counsel.

“I think we’ve done that to be able to make a good decision.”

Ledbetter said, “It’s important to this state – and it’s as pro-life as anything we can do.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270.

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