Republican Senate candidates rush to defend IVF after Alabama ruling

A growing number of Republican candidates for Senate are defending in vitro fertilization treatment after a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court last week threatened to curtail access to the treatment.

While most Republican lawmakers have remained largely silent on the issue, GOP Senate candidates issued a wave of statements in defense of the treatment on Friday, the same day Trump urged the Alabama legislature to nullify the ruling’s effects.

Nevada Senate GOP candidate Sam Brown referred to IVF as “a blessing” for many families, Tim Sheehy, who is running for Senate in Montana, called it “a path for families to grow and thrive,” Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dave McCormick, lauded the treatment as “a ray of hope,” and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake praised it “extremely important” for helping countless people become parents.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is hoping to flip outgoing Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin’s seat in his home state, wrote on X on Friday that IVF helped many Americans become parents “and government should never stand in the way of that.”

Former Rep. Mike Rogers, who is running for Senate in Michigan and co-sponsored a series of measures attempting to define human life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, wrote on Friday that he also rejected restricting access to the treatment.

A group of Republican Senate candidates competing for a seat in Ohio also touted the treatment on Friday, with Matt Dolan calling it “a blessing for those seeking to have children,” and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose pressing for “expanding access to IVF” in a post on X on Friday afternoon.

Bernie Moreno, who was endorsed by Trump in the Ohio GOP Senate primary, suggested on X that he supported “anything that promotes people having more babies & strong families.”

The comment was an apparent shift from a remark he made a day earlier on the conservative podcast “Bob Burney Live,” in which he highlighted his Catholic and South American roots that taught him “that life begins at conception. It’s not confusing to us.”

While the three candidates are voicing support for IVF, Dolan, LaRose and Moreno have each indicated support for some degree of federal restrictions on abortion, even as voters in their state decisively backed a measure last year to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.

The wave of support for IVF treatment comes after the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate Republicans’ fundraising arm, sent a memo to its Senate candidates with guidance on handling messaging on IVF treatment in the aftermath of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling which found that embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children under state law.

The memo, obtained by NBC News, recommends candidates express support for IVF, oppose restrictions on the treatment and campaign on widening its access.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson David Bergstein criticized the memo in a statement Friday.

“The fact that the NRSC had to tell their candidates how unpopular their own agenda opposing women’s reproductive freedom is speaks for itself,” Bergstein said. “Republican Senate candidates have spent years opposing women’s right to make their most personal decisions about their health care and their families, and voters will hold them accountable for their record.”

The personhood of embryos has been at the forefront of political debate ever since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in 2022, leading over a dozen states to ban or severely restrict abortions, according to an NBC News count.

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