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Brown among Republicans scrambling for distance from Alabama IVF ruling

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Jacob Fischler, Nevada Current
February 23, 2024

Former President Donald Trump called on Alabama lawmakers Friday to “find an immediate solution” to remedy a state Supreme Court ruling that threatened the availability of in vitro fertilization, and national Republicans running for Congress, including Nevada Senate candidate Sam Brown, sought to distance themselves from the Alabama decision as well.

In a post to his social media site, Truth Social, Trump said the Alabama Supreme Court ruling last week that gave fertilized embryos the same rights as children was at odds with the anti-abortion movement that is influential in the Republican Party.

The front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination endorsed efforts by Alabama legislators to tweak state law — which includes one of the most restrictive bans on abortion — to protect IVF.

“Today, I am calling on the Alabama Legislature to act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama,” the post read, in Trump’s first public comments since the Alabama ruling. “The Republican Party should always be on the side of the Miracle of Life – and the side of Mothers, Fathers, and their Beautiful Babies. IVF is an important part of that.”

IVF, a common fertility practice, involves harvesting a woman’s eggs and fertilizing them outside the body. The resulting embryos are frozen and stored for future transfer into a uterus, but couples often create more embryos than they end up using.

The Alabama justices’ ruling could open prospective parents and clinics to criminal charges of abandonment or manslaughter for embryos that are destroyed rather than implanted into a uterus.

Leaders in Alabama’s Legislature scrambled late this week to address the ruling, with a key committee chairman authoring a bill to declare embryos created during IVF would not be considered a human life unless implanted into a uterus.

The decision led to the closure of at least three IVF programs in the state this week and inspired intense criticism of anti-abortion Republicans from Democrats from President Joe Biden on down.

The ruling was a continuation of Republicans’ attempts in the states to control pregnancy after the U.S. Supreme Court 2022 ruling overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, many national Democrats said this week.

“They came for abortion first. Now it’s IVF and next it’ll be birth control,” Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton said in a tweet Thursday. “The extreme right won’t stop trying to exert government control over our most sacred personal decisions until we codify reproductive freedom as a human right.”

Biden, who is likely to face Trump in the November general election, is seeking to hold the former president responsible. Trump appointed three of the six justices who voted to overturn abortion protections.

Biden campaign director Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that Trump bore responsibility for the Alabama decision and other restrictions on abortion and fertility treatment.

“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,” Chavez Rodriguez said. “Let’s be clear: Alabama families losing access to IVF is a direct result of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturning Roe v. Wade.”

NRSC sends a memo

Trump’s position — that Alabama lawmakers should find a legislative fix to protect IVF after the court’s ruling — is in line with U.S. Senate Republicans’ campaign arm.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Jason Thielman sent a memo to GOP Senate candidates, Politico reported Friday.

The memo instructed candidates to “Clearly state your support for IVF and fertility-related services as blessings for those seeking to have children” and to “Publicly oppose any efforts to restrict access to IVF and other fertility treatments, framing such opposition as a defense of family values and individual freedom,” according to the Politico report.

In addition to Brown in Nevada, four other GOP Senate hopefuls in key races – Kari Lake in Arizona, Tim Sheehy in Montana, Mike Rogers in Michigan and Matt Dolan in Ohio – then issued statements expressing support for IVF.

Calling IVF “a blessing for so many families,” Brown on Twitter said his wife Amy “and I believe we should do more to promote loving families and help people experience the joys of parenthood. IVF and other similar fertility treatments are a blessing for so many families seeking that joy and we should ensure they remain accessible for them.”

The campaign for Nevada Democratic incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen quickly issued a statement suggesing positions on abortion rights like those held by Brown are exactly what led to the Alabama case in the first place.

“Sam Brown strongly supported the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and reversing 50 years of legal precedent protecting a woman’s freedom to decide for herself how and when to start a family,” the campaign statement said. “We won’t let Nevada voters forget that anti-abortion extremists like Brown opened the door for this dangerous attack on families pursuing fertility treatments.”

Earlier this week in an interview with NBC, Amy Brown revealed that in 2008, the year she met her future husband, she had an abortion 5 1/2 weeks into a pregnancy.

Brian Lyman, Jemma Stephenson, and Hugh Jackson contributed to this report.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.