April 13, 2024

US politicians wary of endorsing IVF decision by Alabama court

Politicians are pushing back against the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen IVF embryos are “extrauterine children”. Doctors say that this will make IVF almost impossible and patient advocates are outraged. 

In Alabama, three bills to protect IVF moved out of committee in both the state House and Senate. They would provide civil and criminal immunity to IVF providers as long as they followed commonly accepted standards of care. 

In Washington, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, who has two IVF children, has been telling her own story to promote Federal support for IVF. “Basically, Republicans have put the right of a fertilized egg over the right of the woman, and that is not something that I think the American people agree with,” she said earlier this week.

A month ago, Duckworth introduced a “Access to Building Family Act” to “protect every American’s right to access in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services that millions of Americans need to have children”. 

Republicans are being wedged on IVF. On the one hand, they want to support the notion that embryos are human life. On the other hand, they fear being seen to oppose IVF. 

According to Politico, a consulting firm found that “86 percent of all respondents supported access to IVF, with 78 percent support among self-identified ‘pro-life advocates’ and 83 percent among Evangelical Christians”.

Former President Donald Trump has declared that he supports IVF. “The Republican Party should always be on the side of the Miracle of Life — and the side of Mothers, Fathers, and their Beautiful Babies,” he wrote on Truth Social. “I.V.F. is an important part of that.” 

“That’s really at the crux of the ethics of it,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said. “No one has IVF to destroy life, they have IVF to create life. Unfortunately, you have to create multiple embryos, and some of those are not used, then you’re now in a quandary.”

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis probably summed up the position of most nervous Republican politicians: “It’s gonna take some people who are really applying a lot of time and thought to this to figure it out … but whatever is concluded, we desperately want to protect in vitro fertilization.”