Feb 21, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Haley says after Alabama court's IVF ruling: "Embryos, to me, are babies

Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a bus tour campaign event at Palmetto Terrace in North Augusta, South Carolina, US, on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event at Palmetto Terrace in North Augusta, South Carolina on Feb. 21. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley told NBC News on Wednesday that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization are "babies" — a stance that's in line with a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling.

Why it matters: The Alabama Supreme Court ruled last week that frozen embryos created through IVF are legally children, raising questions about the future of fertility treatments in the state.

Driving the news: "Embryos, to me, are babies," Haley said. She noted that she used artificial insemination, which is different from IVF, to have her son.

  • "When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that's a life. And so I do see where that's coming from when they talk about that."

Zoom out: Haley has said on the trail that lawmakers need to find a "national consensus" on abortion, marking a divergence from some of her Republican presidential rivals who have called for stricter restrictions.

  • When asked about the potential impact of the ruling beyond Alabama, Haley told NBC that this is an issue "where we need to be incredibly respectful" and sensitive.
  • "Every woman needs to know, with her partner, what she's looking at. And then when you look at that, then you make the decision that's best for your family," she said.

State of play: University of Alabama at Birmingham said Wednesday that it was pausing IVF treatments following the state court's decision.

  • Medical professionals in Alabama are questioning whether they'll need to overhaul their approach to IVF and the ruling could lead other conservative states to follow Alabama's lead, Axios' Sam Baker writes.

Go deeper: 2024 Republicans eye new abortion battle lines

Editor's note: The headline in this article has been corrected to remove a reference to Haley backing the court's ruling when she said, "Embryos, to me, are babies."

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