Trump, Biden Weigh In on IVF

Neither seems keen on Alabama Supreme Court's ruling as lawmakers there scramble for a 'fix'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2024 10:45 AM CST
Trump, Biden Weigh In on IVF
In this Aug. 14, 2013, file photo, an IVF embryologist works on a petri dish at a fertility clinic in London.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

Fallout continues in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling on Monday that embryos frozen during the in vitro fertilization process are to be considered people. The University of Alabama at Birmingham's health system was the first medical center to pause its IVF treatments after the court's decision, but the Washington Post reports that two other clinics have since made the same move: the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, as well as Alabama Fertility in Birmingham. "We understand the burden this places on deserving families who want to bring babies into this world," says Mark Nix, CEO of Infirmary Health, the system overseeing the CRM. There are just seven IVF clinics statewide. More coverage:

  • 'Political backlash': That's what state pols are now facing in Alabama, per the Washington Post, and they're scrambling to come up with a "fix" to quell it, reports the AP. CNN notes that state legislative sources say "a bipartisan effort is underway in the Alabama House and Senate to draft 'clarifying' legislation that would 'protect' IVF treatments. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, meanwhile, insisted Friday that he has "no intention" of prosecuting "IVF families or providers."
  • Mike Johnson: After initially having no comment, the chamber's Republican speaker, Mike Johnson issued a Friday statement noting, "I believe the life of every single child has inestimable dignity and value. That is why I support IVF treatment, which has been a blessing for many moms and dads who have struggled with fertility."
  • House GOP: But Business Insider says Johnson, and more than 120 other House Republicans, are all backing the "Life at Conception Act," which says the term "human being" encompasses "each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being," without an exception for IVF. The outlet notes that a previous version of the legislation introduced in 2017 did contain an IVF carve-out.
  • Trump reaction: The former president is going to bat for IVF, slamming the Alabama court's decision on Friday and asking it to find an "immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama," reports NBC News. "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," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
  • Biden reaction: "The disregard for women's ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable," the president said in a statement, per NBC, adding that he and Vice President Kamala Harris won't stop fighting for reproductive rights. GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley has also weighed in.
  • Personhood legislation: NBC reports there are fetal personhood bills similar to the one in Alabama that have been introduced or enacted in at least a dozen other states, according to data from the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Guttmacher Institute. "What's happened in Alabama is extreme, but it is not happening in a vacuum," says the CRR's Elisabeth Smith. "This is the chaos created by the Dobbs decision."
  • A primer: More on "the science of IVF" from NPR, which looks at everything from the timing of the process to how surplus frozen embryos "reduce costs ... and risks" of in vitro fertilization.
(More IVF stories.)

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