There is currently no language in New York state law that clarifies frozen embryos created for in vitro fertilization procedures are not classified as people.

State Sen. Jack Martins, R-Old Westbury, has introduced legislation to do that.

"This is an alternative that has proven successful. I can speak to it personally. There are certainly people in my own family and friends who have used the process and have families as a result," he said.

Martins' bill is in response to an Alabama Supreme Court ruling last month that those embryos are children with rights. Major providers there quickly paused services over concerns about liability.

"The idea of putting any obstacles in the way of a couple's choice or a person's choice to have a child or not to have a child is absurd," Martins said.

He said the legislation should have widespread support, especially with his Democratic counterparts. Instead, Martins believes they have gone the other way because his name and that of fellow Long Island Republican Steven Rhoads are on the bill.

On Tuesday, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Democrats in New York are protecting women's reproductive health including codifying Roe v Wade in 2019 and legalizing gestational surrogacy without any Republican support.

"We are pretty clear that we've got to protect all aspects of reproductive health. We don't believe at this point that there is any danger. We don't want to scare people to think that IVF is in danger here in New York," Stewart-Cousins said. "It is not."

Martins said he supports women's reproductive rights but draws a line at late-term and partial birth abortion. The lawmaker points out he was not in the Legislature in 2019 when it codified Roe v Wade, however he did vote for the Equal Rights Amendment, which if approved by New York voters this fall, will among other things, include abortion rights in the state's Constitution.

He said he's not surprised, in an election year, that there's pushback from Democrats. However, he is more concerned with a statement from Planned Parenthood claiming the legislation is a deliberate attempt to muddy the state's existing protections for abortion and IVF and calling it "political theater" meant to distance Martins from the extreme actions of Republicans in other states.

"For Planned Parenthood, as a not-for-profit organization that is not supposed to be partisan, for them to put out a statement like that is extraordinary, and frankly, I think it's beneath them," Martins said.

He said the organization did not speak with him before releasing the statement but they planned to meet Wednesday on the issue. Martins said if Democrats want to introduce their own bill he would support it and rally other members of his party.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers in Alabama are pushing forward legislation which does not address personhood for in vitro fertilization embryos but would provide criminal and civili liability protections for patients and providers.