Feb 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House GOP rushes to distance from Alabama IVF ruling

Rep. Nancy Mace, wearing a dark blue blazer, white shirt and talking on a cellphone.

Rep. Nancy Mace. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

House Republicans are quickly pushing back on an Alabama Supreme Court ruling restricting access to fertility treatments, with one GOP lawmaker already planning a legislative response, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Reproductive health care has been the central issue for House Democrats as they try to win back GOP-held suburban swing districts.

  • "We should do everything we can to protect IVF for women everywhere," Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) told Axios. "We are currently drafting a resolution to express our sentiment and then looking at legislative options."
  • Mace has variably criticized and supported her party's pro-life positions, often warning that overly strict policies will cost the GOP key elections.

What they’re saying: House Republicans from districts President Biden won in 2020 also pushed back.

  • Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) said in a statement to Axios the ruling “goes too far,” while Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) said it will “rob countless Americans of the joys of family life.”
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios he wants to "give those who want to be moms and dads that opportunity. Therefore, I do not support restrictions on IVF."
  • "I'm troubled by and oppose the ruling. I support women and families who choose IVF to bring life into this world. They have my love and respect," said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.).

Zoom in: The Alabama Supreme Court ruled late last week that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization are legally considered children.

  • That has resulted in Alabama clinics pausing IVF treatments out of concern that doctors or patients could face potential criminal prosecution.

State of play: Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) introduced legislation to provide a federal right to IVF after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022.

  • "Now is the time for Congress to pass my Access to Family Building Act and establish a statutory right to access IVF," Duckworth said in a statement after the Alabama ruling.

What we're hearing: A House Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they will be "curious to see who will support such efforts" to preserve IVF access.

  • The lawmaker added that Republicans from swing districts "have to, right...?"

Go deeper: Alabama Supreme Court ruling adds to legal uncertainty around IVF

Editor's note: This article was updated with a quote from Rep. Marc Molinaro.

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