Senate GOP campaign arm urges candidates to support IVF after Alabama ruling

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is urging its candidates to voice support for in vitro fertilization (IVF) after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are people, leading multiple health systems in the state to pause their IVF work.

In a letter sent to GOP candidates, the NRSC said the state court’s decision allows Democrats to “manipulate the abortion issue for electoral gain.”

“There are zero Republican Senate candidates who support efforts to restrict access to fertility treatments. NRSC encourages Republican Senate candidates to clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF,” the letter said.

The Alabama ruling is the first time a court has ever given rights and protections so early after conception. While limited only to the state of Alabama, the ruling has a far-reaching potential and may open the door to more battles over reproductive rights nearly two years after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The decision found that embryos and fertilized eggs are considered children under the Alabama Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, even if they have yet to be implanted in a uterus. Experts say the new standard may make IVF much more expensive and inaccessible, but it does not make it illegal.

The NRSC letter outlined its key messages for candidates running for Senate seats. It asks them to express support for IVF and “highlight the importance of these treatments in fulfilling the dreams of countless families to conceive.” It also asks candidates to publicly oppose efforts to restrict IVF and other fertility treatments and frame their opposition “as a defense of family values and individual freedom.” The letter asks GOP candidates to advocate for policies that “increase access to fertility treatments.”

“When responding to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, it is imperative that our candidates align with the public’s overwhelming support for IVF and fertility treatments,” the NRSC said in its conclusion.

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley had faced pushback after responding to the decision by saying she did believe embryos should be treated as children.

“Well, first of all, I didn’t — I mean, this is — again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. What the question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley said on CNN. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so, yes, I believe from my stance that that is.”

Several Senate candidates have already taken a public stance on the decision. Kari Lake, a Republican, who is running for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) seat, posted online about how 1 in 6 Americans struggle with fertility issues.

“In the Senate, I will advocate for increased access to fertility treatment for women struggling to get pregnant,” Lake posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “IVF is extremely important for helping countless families experience the joy of parenthood. I oppose restrictions.”

David McCormick, a Republican running against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), also took to social media after the ruling.

“IVF is a ray of hope for millions of Americans seeking the blessing of children,” his post said. “I oppose any effort to restrict it.”

Tim Sheehy, a GOP Senate candidate in Montana, along with two GOP Ohio candidates Matt Dolan and Bernie Moreno, have also posted in support of IVF.

After the ruling Thursday, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R) acknowledged that some women in his state could now face new challenges having children. He said it is a “hard” situation and that he hadn’t yet seen the decision.

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