Democrats Plan to Use IVF Issue Against Republicans


House Democrats are broadening their approach to reproductive rights by initiating efforts to highlight the potential risk to in vitro fertilization if Republicans maintain control, despite GOP efforts to safeguard access to the procedure.

This strategy follows Democratic actions after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which returned the decision on abortion legality to the states and has significantly driven voter turnout for the Democratic Party in the past two years.

Republicans have faced challenges in presenting a unified stance on IVF, particularly after the Alabama Supreme Court’s February ruling that embryos created through IVF should be considered children. Consequently, destroying embryos could be seen as a “wrongful death of a minor,” leading to concerns among medical professionals about potential legal complications.

Democrats quickly focused on this issue, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rolling out a five-figure billboard campaign earlier this year aimed at vulnerable Republicans supporting the Life at Conception Act, which Democrats argue threatens IVF access.

The Life at Conception Act, introduced in the House last year, aims to establish that life begins at conception, thereby granting legal protection to fetuses from that moment. However, it does not explicitly exempt IVF, raising concerns about potential restrictions on doctors performing the procedure.

Democrats specifically targeted at least eight vulnerable Republican incumbents who voted for the bill, including Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), a co-sponsor. Since then, Miller-Meeks has signed resolutions supporting access to IVF and other contraceptives, potentially aiding her as she begins her summer campaign.

“As a physician and mother, I fully support IVF, considering it one of the most pro-life actions we can take,” Miller-Meeks stated.

Miller-Meeks explained she initially supported the Life at Conception Act before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe, believing in improving bills through amendments. However, she sought clarification on its impact on IVF protections post-Dobbs.

“I am diligently working on legislation to provide over-the-counter oral contraception, support for women and mothers, paid family leave, further support for adoption, and other pro-life measures that do not impede or restrict IVF,” Miller-Meeks stated. “I am pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.”

Following the Alabama ruling, several Republicans have shifted to support IVF — a move Democrats say contradicts their backing of the Life at Conception Act.

The Republican-led Alabama state House and Senate passed concurrent bills in February to protect healthcare providers offering IVF services in response to the state Supreme Court’s ruling. This legislation included specific protections for IVF providers who often destroy leftover and nonviable embryos as part of standard procedures.

Other Republicans have also recognized the potential vulnerability surrounding IVF and have proposed legislation to ensure the procedure’s accessibility.

Recently, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt (R-AL) introduced legislation to guarantee nationwide legal protection for IVF by making it a prerequisite for states to receive federal Medicaid funding. The bill does not prevent states from establishing “health and safety standards to govern IVF,” but places funding conditions to ensure IVF access is protected by federal law.

As Democrats emphasize IVF, they aim to solidify a campaign platform that includes ensuring abortion access and advocating for broader freedoms. The DCCC plans to maintain abortion as a key issue for voters, targeting 18 GOP-held House districts across seven states that might involve referendums on the matter.

Democrats are confident in garnering support from independent and some Republican voters for abortion access, citing recent abortion referendums that boosted voter turnout. States with current or potential referendums include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and New York.

In states like Arizona and Florida, referendums aim to prevent state legislators from banning abortion unless the pregnancy is viable. New York’s proposal seeks to forbid discrimination based on pregnancy outcomes as part of broader constitutional amendments against discrimination.

Since the Roe reversal, over half a dozen states have held ballot measures on abortion access, with anti-abortion advocates losing each time.

Republicans generally argue that broader candidate elections differ from single-issue campaigns and predict that the economy, rather than abortion, will dominate voter concerns in November. A National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson dismissed Democratic attacks, suggesting that issues like crime and immigration will be more prominent.

“A top non-partisan election analyst just dampened the DCCC’s hope that ballot initiatives would be a ‘silver bullet’ against extreme House Democrats’ open-border, pro-crime, and pro-inflation policies,” NRCC National press secretary Will Reinert said in April.

Cami Mondeaux
Cami Mondeaux
Congressional Reporter. A Utah native, Cami graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2021 and covered state government as a breaking news reporter for KSL News Radio.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app