Op-ed: Alabama Embryo Ruling Impacts NV Rights

Credit: Alan Morales

By Maite Guerra, M.P.S, Alan Morales

March 26, 2024

By: Maite Guerra and Alan Morales 

Reproductive rights have been at the head of legal and ethical debates, confirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court’s recent ruling declaring that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are children, creating a national conversation — and fears about our reproductive rights here at home in Nevada.

As clinics in Alabama struggle with the outcome, Nevada emerges as a battleground state for reproductive rights, actively working to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution, a commitment to safeguarding autonomy and access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. The contrasting approaches of Alabama and Nevada shows the urgent need to protect and expand access to reproductive healthcare while advocating for policies that uphold fundamental rights and freedoms. 

The recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, declared embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) as children. The court’s decision has sparked concerns about its far-reaching impacts on healthcare, particularly in the field of reproductive technology, especially post Roe v Wade

The court case involves three couples who underwent IVF treatment and faced the loss of their cryopreserved embryos. While the trial court initially dismissed the case, the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling changed existing legal norms and as a result, extended personhood rights to embryos.

Patients scheduled for IVF procedures have had their treatments canceled, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the legal status of embryos and the potential troubles for medical practitioners. 

Beyond Alabama, this ruling raises questions about the future of reproductive healthcare nationwide. With millions of embryos currently frozen across the country, concerns arise regarding the responsibility and rights surrounding their preservation and nature. 

Nevada has emerged as a trailblazer in the fight for reproductive justice. The state is actively working to enshrine the right to abortion in its constitution. This stance reaffirms Nevada’s commitment to upholding reproductive freedoms and ensuring individuals’ autonomy over their bodies and futures. 

Nevada’s support for reproductive freedom extends beyond abortion. The state has implemented policies to expand access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, and maternal healthcare, recognizing that reproductive health is integral to gender equality and public health. Moreover, recent budget proposals by House Republicans, aiming to restrict reproductive freedom, underscore the critical need for vigilant protection of these rights nationwide.

Here in Nevada, there is currently a petition driven by the Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom campaign, to give voters a chance to enshrine reproductive freedom in the Nevada Constitution, including abortion care. Sixty two percent of Nevadans regardless of party support constitutional protections for abortion access, according to a 2023 poll from the Nevada Independent. 

While the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling poses challenges to reproductive freedom, Nevada sets a powerful example in its efforts to protect and expand reproductive rights that serves as a model for other states. By prioritizing inclusivity, autonomy, justice, amplifying voices, and advocating for inclusive policies, we can pave the way toward a future where reproductive justice is not only protected but celebrated as a fundamental human right.

  • Maite Guerra, M.P.S

    ,

    Maite Guerra serves as the Research Manager at Battle Born Progress and the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, where she spearheads research initiatives aimed at countering disinformation targeting the Latino/Hispanic community in Nevada. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she also gained valuable experience as a staffing assistant for Congressman Steven Horford. Maite recently earned her Master's Degree in American Politics with a specialization in American Politics from New York University. During her time at NYU, she contributed her expertise to organizations such as Make the Road, The Progressive Turnout Project, and the Elizabeth Brickfield Campaign. Her commitment to social justice extends beyond her professional endeavors, as evidenced by her volunteer work as a legal intern for the Asian Community Development Council and with the ACLU of Nevada. With a profound passion for the political sphere, Maite endeavors to continue advocating for equitable policies and representation, aspiring to foster positive change in communities nationwide through her research, advocacy, and activism.

  • Alan Morales

    Alan Morales is a sociologist who was born in Las Vegas, raised in Mexico City, Madison, Wisconsin, and Santa Barbara, California. Graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, Alan's academic journey was enriched by their multicultural upbringing and diverse educational experiences. Rooted in a family with a deep-seated tradition of political engagement, Alan's advocacy journey commenced early, marked by their involvement in Andre Manuel Lopez Obrador's landmark 2006 presidential campaign in Mexico. This experience laid the groundwork for his enduring dedication to effecting positive change through political advocacy. Currently serving as a digital organizer for Battle Born Progress/Institute for a Progressive Nevada, Alan utilizes their expertise to amplify voices, mobilize communities, and advocate for progressive causes. Their professional trajectory includes a role as a research intern for the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas, where they honed their skills in data analysis and strategic planning to advance workers' rights. Alan's commitment to reproductive justice and healthcare accessibility was recognized with the Activist of the Year award from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. As President of Planned Parenthood's chapter at UNLV, they led impactful initiatives to educate and empower their peers, leaving an indelible mark on campus. With a fervent belief in the power of grassroots organizing and collective action, Alan Morales continues to be a driving force in shaping a more equitable and just society. Their unwavering dedication to social justice, especially in the fields of reproductive justice and the environment serves as an inspiration to activists and advocates alike, embodying the spirit of transformative change.

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