Mar 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House Democrats find new opening to hit GOP on IVF

Rep. Lori Trahan, wearing a beige pullover over a white dress, speaks at a microphone in front of a "House Democrats backdrop.

Rep. Lori Trahan. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

House Democrats are seizing on an anti-IVF push by a group of right-wing House Republicans to accuse the GOP of trying to "have it both ways," Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Republicans have painstakingly tried to distance from an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that restricted access to fertility services.

The backdrop: Four right-wing House Freedom Caucus members wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough last week voicing "strong objections" to a policy expanding IVF access to veterans.

  • The policy funds fertility services for unmarried veterans, those in same-sex marriages and those who sustained service-related disabilities.
  • "IVF is morally dubious and should not be subsidized by the American taxpayer," they wrote, calling to use the funds to boost adoption services.

The latest: In a letter to McDonough first obtained by Axios, 70 House Democrats wrote that they "applaud" the policy and called for further expansion by not requiring proof that disabilities are service related.

  • Noting that "some Republicans have claimed they never wanted to ban IVF," the lawmakers said the Freedom Caucus letter "further demonstrates that our Republican colleagues are determined to have it both ways."
  • "Coupled together, the IVF decision in Alabama and the letter Republicans recently sent to your agency prove that they have no desire to stop at the state level," they added.
  • The letter is led by Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), the co-chair of House Democrats' messaging arm.

Between the lines: Republicans have scrambled to distance from the Alabama ruling.

Zoom out: After their electoral fortunes were boosted in 2022 by the demise of Roe v. Wade, Democrats have continually searched for new ways to draw a contrast with Republicans on reproductive rights.

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