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Republicans Scramble to Back IVF After Alabama Ruling

One after another, GOP lawmakers and candidates came out with statements in support of IVF after days of silence.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Religious Broadcasters convention
Donald Trump wrote Friday that he would ensure “the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.” George Walker IV/AP

Republicans are making a coordinated effort to publicly embrace IVF in the wake of an Alabama Supreme Court decision that has already restricted access to the procedure within the state.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a memo that candidates must “clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF,” and many senators and candidates quickly followed suit by issuing statements backing IVF. And on Friday afternoon, Donald Trump posted on Truth Social in support of IVF access.

“Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families,” Trump said on his social media platform, Truth Social. “That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.”

Trump said he was calling on Alabama state lawmakers to “find an immediate solution” to preserve the availability of IVF after the state’s Supreme Court issued a first-of-its-kind ruling declaring that frozen embryos created from in vitro fertilization “are children.” In the days since, some fertility clinics said they paused all IVF procedures while they evaluated the court’s ruling and embryo shipping services have said they will stop transporting embryos to and from Alabama, per RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

Since the fall of Roe, Democrats have warned fertility treatments involving embryos were at risk of being severely restricted by efforts to ban abortion — something Republicans, touting their victories on unraveling federal protections for abortion, brushed off. In fact, in 2022, GOP senators blocked a bill introduced by Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth that would have created federal protections for fertility treatments amid concerns that they’d be affected in the post-Roe era.

“The same Republicans who claim to ‘defend family values’ just blocked my bill to protect the right to start a family through IVF,” Duckworth said at the time.

This week, Democrats quickly drew a direct line from the end of Roe v. Wade and the Alabama ruling. It “is a direct result of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturning Roe v. Wade,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez. “Trump cannot run from his record.”

Anti-abortion groups — which are usually quick to respond to judicial rulings that impact them — remained relatively quiet on the decision, which an anti-abortion advocate told NOTUS was because IVF “represents very difficult ethical, medical, legal, political issues” for the movement.

IVF is politically popular, as the NRSC noted in its memo. It pointed to a nationwide survey conducted by Kellyanne Conway that found that “[a] staggering 85% of all respondents, including 86% of women, support increasing access to fertility-related procedures and services.”

The Alabama ruling “is fodder for Democrats hoping to manipulate the abortion issue for electoral gain,” NRSC Executive Director Jason Thielman wrote in the memo, which was obtained by NOTUS and first reported by CNN.

The memo notably did not say how Republicans should talk about whether embryos deserve personhood rights, which was at the heart of the Alabama ruling and has implications for how IVF is performed.

Following the release of the memo, senatorial candidates put out statements backing fertility treatments. In Michigan, Republican Mike Rogers said that “IVF has been critical to helping Americans grow their families. … I oppose any and all efforts to restrict access to IVF — period.” Arizona Republican Kari Lake told reporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference that she hopes the Alabama ruling is “overturned.”

Republicans have struggled to communicate on abortion and reproductive health after Roe v. Wade was overturned, which has proven to be a political winner for Democrats on the ballot box. Their vocal support for IVF seems to be an extension of the “pro-family” strategy House Republicans pushed in January during the March for Life: focus on talking about providing resources for mothers and stay away from abortion bans.

Alabama Senator Katie Britt, for one, shared that sentiment: “IVF helps create life and grow families, and it deserves the protection of the law,” she said. “I’ll continue to advance a culture of life while ensuring moms and children have the opportunities and resources they need to thrive and live their American Dream.”

While several hill Republicans have issued statements in support of fertility treatments, over 100 House Republicans — including Speaker Mike Johnson, who has yet to comment on the Alabama decision — have co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, a bill that would ban abortion nationwide by granting “equal protection” to “each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization.”

The bill does not mention fertility treatments like IVF, meaning that if it becomes law, it could impact access to those procedures.

Oriana González is a reporter at NOTUS.