HomeTop StoriesDemocratic governors see IVF following a familiar post-Dobbs pattern

Democratic governors see IVF following a familiar post-Dobbs pattern

Democratic governors say they have turned their states into havens for in vitro fertilization treatments — in much the same way blue states did for post-surgical abortion.Dobbs America.

The Alabama Supreme Court temporarily suspended the practice of IVF in the state after ruling that embryos are the same as children under state law, and it is one of 13 states with so-called personhood laws on the books that are causing a legal clash of course with IVF treatments.

The Democratic-controlled states of California, Illinois and Massachusetts passed laws last year that protect IVF providers. And in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently directed the Michigan State Health Department to issue a reminder to protect out-of-state patients and providers seeking IVF treatment in Michigan.

With Congress unable to amend state laws to protect IVF, Democratic governors see the patchwork of state laws as a way to guarantee access. Democratic governors say they know the sudden restriction on a deeply personal issue like IVF could move voters — even those who don’t support a liberal position on abortion.

“We all have a friend, family member or ourselves and our families have used IVF to try to start a family. And so we understand that there is a right that needs to be protected,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in an interview. “And frankly, it’s shocking that they’re pursuing this right.”

“Republicans don’t understand the coming storm,” he said.

Pritzker recently launched a new national nonprofit, Think Big, focused on protecting and expanding abortion rights – and protecting IVF.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in an interview that it may not be so easy for Republicans to quell the sudden passion over IFV, saying they are “really getting scared about this issue.” She added that she is “pointing out” the distinction between the two sides’ views on IVF.

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Republican governors meeting at the National Governors Association conference in Washington last month quickly expressed support for IVF when asked about Alabama’s ruling.

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia said in a statement to POLITICO that he “unequivocally supports access to IVF for Virginians hoping to experience the blessing of family.”

Democrats have pushed for a national protection law for IVF providers, while Republicans have blocked it. Some Republicans have also struggled to answer questions about whether they consider embryos human — with some drawing criticism from anti-abortion groups.

Democratic Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota told POLITICO that the issue affects him as his son and daughter were both conceived through fertility treatments.

Walz said he saw IVF as an issue with a clear advantage for Democrats. There are already polls to support him. A research report from Navigator found that 3 in 5 Americans (or 62 percent) believe access to fertility planning such as IVF should be more easily accessible; 45 percent said it should be “much” easier to access. Only 7 percent think access to IVF should be more difficult.

“IVF will be central because it is central to people’s lives,” he said.

Democratic governors also emphasize the importance that governors in some states play in making judicial appointments. The Democratic Governors Association recently launched the Power to Appoint fund, which focuses on helping elect Democratic governors who can be appointed if a judicial vacancy arises. Since the fall of Dobbsreproductive rights issues are largely decided at the state level – with state supreme courts becoming the ultimate arbiter of what is legal.

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This year, the DGA’s election strategy focuses on New Hampshire and North Carolina, both states with Republican majorities in the Supreme Courts and competitive races for open gubernatorial seats.

Democrats are particularly optimistic about the governor’s race in North Carolina, where the Republican candidate, Mark Robinson, has compared abortion to murder in the past. But to underline how complex IVF is for Republicans, even he wouldn’t answer a question about the Alabama ruling.

Meanwhile, national Republicans released a memo telling their candidates to avoid the topic during the campaign due to extreme popular support of IVF.

“You saw how quickly Donald Trump and many Republicans responded to that statement in Alabama, saying they support IVF,” said Lance Trover, a Republican political operative and spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s presidential campaign. “It’s an indication that Republicans clearly support it. They are quite clear about that.”

But the party’s base continues to insist on strict bans – and that anything short of a definition of life from conception is unacceptable.

Republicans don’t even seem to agree on abortion. Several Republicans — like Nikki Haley in her failed presidential bid — urged the party to be more flexible on an issue that destroyed them at the ballot box. But Trump is reportedly considering a national 16-week ban, and others have proposed national legislation that would ban abortion entirely. A similar divide appears to be emerging over the IVF and Alabama ruling, with Republicans in the electoral space taking a more popular position even if it goes against their base.

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“I think a lot of Republicans agreed with that [the Alabama ruling] was a mistake,” said Preya Samsundar, a communications consultant who worked with the super PAC that supported Haley, accusing Democratic governors of playing politics in an election year. “Democratic governors are just grasping at straws right now, and they’re trying to use IVF and this isolated case in Alabama as a straw.”

Walz said this tension will leave Republicans trying to walk a fine line on IVF. “Their problem is they know this is such a damaging issue, but to their base they can’t say that,” he said.

Whitmer directly linked the IVF debate to the election year rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

“What is happening now in Alabama is only possible because Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices voted to overturn the case Roe v. Wade, laying the groundwork for further erosion of our reproductive freedom,” she said in a statement. “The idea of ​​taking IVF and reproductive freedom away from loving families is a great concern. People don’t want politicians making these decisions for women.”

Margie Omero, director of the Democratic polling firm GBAO, said it’s no surprise that Democratic governors are trying to frame IVF as a campaign issue.

“You can tell Republicans are concerned about this by how quickly they all tried to pretend they had a pro-IVF position,” she said. “Additionally, Republicans support an unpopular national abortion ban.”

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