Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Republican memo urges Senate candidates to support IVF after Alabama ruling – The Washington Post

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The national group charged with electing Republicans to the Senate on Friday urged its candidates on this year’s ballot to support in vitro fertilization and reject government restrictions — a move that came a week after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos should be considered children and that people can be held responsible for their destruction.

The message from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, contained in a memo obtained by The Washington Post, was accompanied by announcements from a rapidly growing number of Republican Senate candidates expressing support for IVF procedures, threatened by the Alabama decision .

The events underscored the precarious line Republican Party candidates have taken when it comes to discussing reproductive rights, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling nearly two years ago that declared that the constitutional right to abortion no longer existed.

Initially, last Friday’s decision in Alabama was met with largely silence from Republican officials and candidates. But more Republican politicians at all levels have since sought to distance themselves from it and embrace IVF procedures, which have been used in increasing numbers by families of all political affiliations in the United States over the last decade.

Democrats seek to capitalize on Alabama embryo ruling in election year

“In response to the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, it is imperative that our candidates align with the overwhelming public support for IVF and fertility treatments,” wrote NRSC Executive Director Jason Thielman , in a note to “Senate Candidates” dated Friday.

Thielman described the Alabama decision as “fodder for Democrats who hope to manipulate the abortion issue for electoral purposes” and said that “[t]there are no Republican Senate candidates who support efforts to restrict access to fertility treatments.

“NRSC encourages Republican Senate candidates to clearly and concisely reject government efforts to restrict IVF,” he wrote.

The NRSC memo cites a poll that appears to have been conducted by the office of former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway that says access to IVF is overwhelmingly popular.

Friday, Republican Senate candidates Bernie Moreno in Ohio, Tim Sheehy in Montana, Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania And Lake Kari in Arizona were among those who posted messages on social media saying they supported IVF.

Former President Donald Trump has remained silent on the Alabama decision, while his latest rival for the GOP presidential nomination, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, has sent mixed signals. Haley initially said she personally agreed that “embryos, to me, are babies,” but has since emphasized that families and doctors should be responsible for their fertility decisions .

The NRSC memo did not explicitly dictate how applicants should discuss personhood and embryos — an issue at the heart of the Alabama case.

“Clearly state your support for IVF and fertility-related services as a blessing to those seeking to have children,” the NRSC memo said. “Highlight the importance of these treatments in making countless families’ dreams of conceiving come true.”

Candidates must “publicly oppose any attempt to restrict access to IVF and other fertility treatments, framing this opposition as a defense of family values ​​and individual freedom.”

Republicans have struggled to find a winning strategy to address the issue of reproductive rights related to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision. Roe v. Wade in 2022. Last November, abortion rights played a role in a series of Republican defeats across the country. And reproductive rights have become a key issue in the 2024 Senate elections.

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