Efe Washington


Updated Thursday, February 22, 2024-01:09

The largest hospital in Alabama (United States) announced this Wednesday that it will pause in vitro fertilizations after the state Supreme Court ruled last week that

frozen embryos must be considered people.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, which operates the hospital, explained in a statement that it is evaluating the court's decision given the "potential that our patients and our doctors could

be criminally prosecuted or face harm."

The unprecedented decision by the Alabama Supreme Court declares that

those who destroy a frozen embryo can be held responsible for its death

, and relies on the anti-abortion language of the state Constitution.

"Unborn children are 'children', without exception for their state of development, geographic location or any other secondary characteristic," the court's ruling read.

One of the judges, in fact,

relied on the Bible

to argue that no human life can be destroyed because it contains all the image of God "even before being born," as he wrote in a concurring opinion.

Alabama is one of 21 states in the country, however, that

still allow the death penalty,

according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).

The White House has condemned the ruling. This Tuesday, in statements to the press, government spokesperson

Karine Jean-Pierre

said that the Alabama Supreme Court's decision will cause chaos similar to that of the national Supreme Court's ruling on abortion, "giving rise to politicians to dictate some of the most personal decisions a family can make.