House Republicans Seek Political Cover Behind Useless IVF Resolutions

But no GOP House members have actually introduced legislation to protect access to in vitro fertilization.
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House Republicans are all talk and no action on protecting Americans’ access to in vitro fertilization, after the Alabama Supreme Court granted embryos the same legal status as children last month.

Several House Republicans introduced two measures this week following the sweeping court ruling as a way to express strong support for IVF protections. Both resolutions list critical facts about IVF, note the importance of patient access and applaud fertility specialists for the work they do. One of the two even goes on to condemn the judicial ruling out of Alabama.

But neither have any legislative power. Resolutions are non-binding statements that primarily serve as tools for political posturing.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) announced her resolution on Thursday, which expresses “support for continued access to fertility care and assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization.” The resolution was co-sponsored by five other House Republicans: Reps. David Schweikert (Ariz.), Anthony D’Esposito (N.Y.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Jen Kiggans (Va.) and Don Bacon (Neb.). Four out of the five co-sponsors represent districts that voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, and are likely vulnerable to losing their seat in November.

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.) published her resolution, with Republican co-sponsors Reps. Michelle Steel (Calif.) and Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.), on Friday morning. The resolution states that the House “remains committed to commonsense policies that enable families to grow” as well as “recognizes the fundamental truth that life is precious.”

“As someone who struggled with infertility and personally witnessed the miracle of IVF, I strongly believe that IVF should remain protected and accessible,” Steel tweeted along with Chavez-DeRemer’s announcement of the non-binding resolution.

D’Esposito responded to HuffPost’s request for comment in an emailed statement.

Democrats’ misleading smear campaign cannot distort the fact that I’ve been fighting on Capitol Hill since day one to ensure women are empowered to make their own individual healthcare decisions by opposing any attempt to institute a nationwide abortion ban and advancing legislation that supports women’s access to important fertility resources like IVF treatments,” D’Esposito said.

The House Republican took office in January 2023 and voted to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation based on a misleading premise that sought to “interfere with evidence-based medicine,” as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists described it.

None of the other eight representatives responded to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Republicans have found themselves scrambling to distance themselves from the Alabama ruling in the wake of national public outrage over its sweeping effect. Access to IVF is an issue over 80% of Americans support, including a majority of Republican voters.

Campaigning on far-right policies that galvanize a strong but extreme subsection of the GOP base may prove risky for Republicans. Without the guardrails of Roe v. Wade, reproductive health care restrictions that are broadly unpopular can be enacted by GOP-led states.

Mace, Steel, Schweikert and Bacon were co-sponsors of the 2021 Life at Conception Act, an anti-abortion bill that aimed to grant full legal rights to embryos from “the moment of fertilization.” The Senate version of the bill had a carve-out to protect IVF, but the House version did not. The House bill had 166 Republican co-sponsors when it was first introduced in 2021, and 124 co-sponsors when it was re-introduced in 2023.

“House Republicans are flagrant hypocrites who have spent their entire tenure in the majority attacking reproductive rights at every turn,” Courtney Rice, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told HuffPost. “Now, they are hiding behind toothless resolutions and empty public statements because they know their relentless attacks on reproductive freedoms will cost them at the ballot box.”

Similar to House Republicans’ approach, Senate Republicans have been reluctant to discuss their support of IVF, particularly after Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) blocked a bill this week that would have protected access to IVF on the federal level. Democrats have a companion measure they are still pushing in the House.

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