Trump demands ‘immediate solution’ to protect IVF in Alabama

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Donald Trump is demanding Alabama lawmakers “act quickly to find an immediate solution” to protect in vitro fertilization in the wake of a shock state supreme court ruling that forced hospital systems and IVF clinics to halt treatments, while throwing doctors and families into legal chaos.

Republican officials have scrambled to respond to the ruling with a cohesive message, while Democratic rivals have linked the decision to a years-long campaign to undermine reproductive health care and restrict abortion rights.

On his Truth Social on Friday, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president vowed his support for “the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families” and “fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.”

“Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby,” he added.

He called on Alabama’s Republican-controlled state legislature to “act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama.”

“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 added. “IVF is an important part of that, and our Great Republican Party will always be with you, in your quest, for the ULTIMATE JOY IN LIFE!”

Last week’s ruling from the state’s conservative Supreme Court – which defined frozen embryos as children, effectively expanding the scope of so-called “personhood” embraced by Christian fundamentalists and anti-abortion groups who believe life begins at conception – has drawn wide condemnation and alarm, with fertility clinics across the state fearing swift legal scrutiny while families were left in heartbreaking limbo.

At least three major fertility clinics halted IVF treatments in Alabama, and at least one major embryo shipping company announced it was “pausing” its business in the state.

Alabama State Senator Tim Melson is planning to introduce a state-level measure to ensure protections for IVF treatment, despite the ruling, while Republican Governor Kay Ivey has signalled her support for the measure.

In a statement on Friday, she announced that her support for “a culture of life” in the state included helping “couples hoping and praying to be parents who utilize IVF.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said that the “disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable.”

“Make no mistake: this is a direct result of the overturning of Roe v Wade,” he said in a statement, referencing the landmark US Supreme Court case that was reversed in 2022, revoking a constitutional right to abortion care and upending reproductive health rights and legal protections across the US.

That decision, possible only with Mr Trump’s appointment of three justices to build a conservative supermajority on the nation’s high court, has triggered sweeping anti-abortion laws in more than a dozen states.

“American women couldn’t care less what Donald Trump posts on Truth Social, they care that they can’t access fertility treatment because of him,” Mr Biden’s presidential campaign manager Julia Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement on Friday.

“He proudly overturned Roe. He brags about it on the campaign trail,” she said. “Trump cannot run from his record and neither can the millions of women who his actions have hurt.”

The Alabama Supreme Court ruling concerned a couple’s wrongful death lawsuit against a fertility clinic, and whether staff who allegedly breached the clinic’s cryogenic storage facility mistakenly destroyed embryos.

According to the court, under state law, “unborn children are ‘children’ ... without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics.”

In a concurring opinion, the court’s anti-abortion Chief Justice Tom Parker – a proponent of Christian nationalist doctrine – stated that the court had adopted a “theologically based view of the sanctity of life,” and wrote that “human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.”

Mr Trump’s Truth Social post landed in the middle of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where far-right influencers, members of Congress and other Trump allies have gathered for a four-day event to outline a 2024 agenda.

Republican US Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, a staunch ally to the former president, told reporters at the event he was “all for” the decision, then said he supports fertility treatments like IVF.

Far-right influencer Michael Knowles, who addressed the conference on Thursday, announced on X that he believed Alabama doctors and IVF clinics should be criminally prosecuted.

Earlier this week, GOP presidential rival Nikki Haley called embryos “babies” and then later clarified that she doesn’t want to see clinics shutter, nor does she want to see doctors “stop doing artificial insemination”.

On Thursday, three Republican governors said they were generally supportive of IVF treatments but said they had not seen the ruling to stake out a position.

Meanwhile, on Fox News, the network spent fewer than six minutes of coverage on the ruling through Wednesday, even as clinics were drawing headlines for their suspension of IVF procedures.