PAF in The Hill: Democratic group targets Republicans over IVF in Arizona 


Democratic group targets Republicans over IVF in Arizona 

BY CAROLINE VAKIL – 05/20/24 6:00 AM

A Democratic super PAC is targeting Republicans over the issue of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the battleground state of Arizona as Democrats ramp up their attacks on reproductive access ahead of the 2024 election.

Progress Action Fund, which notably aired the “Ohio Republicans in Your Bedroom” ad that targeted Republicans over abortion access ahead of a special election last year centering on abortion rights, launched a new ad with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Monday called “Republicans Stealing Your Baby.”

The ad, which paid for by Progress Action Fund and first shared with The Hill. shows a couple with their child, who was conceived using IVF, before a Republican congressman seeks to block IVF access.

“I still can’t believe this beautiful girl is ours,” the husband of the couple says in the 30-second ad, before the wife adds, “Our little IVF miracle.” 

“Sorry, she’s not yours anymore,” the Republican congressman says in the ad as he takes the baby away, adding later, “I’m your Republican congressman. We made IVF illegal, and we’re not letting you criminals raise her.” 

“You can’t do this, she’s our baby!” the wife says before the Republican congressman finishes the ad by saying, “I won the last election, so it’s my decision. If you want a baby, you have to make one the old-fashioned way, and I’ll be watching.”

The ad is part of a $250,000 ad buy and will be aired in Arizona on connected TVs, streaming services and online platforms, according to the Democratic super PAC.

The ad campaign underscores how Democrats are looking to target Republicans over the issue of reproductive access issues ahead of a pivotal election. Democrats have leaned into the issue of abortion, as its salience has endured long after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

But after the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier this year determining that frozen embryos were children and bringing IVF access to a halt before lawmakers scrambled to put a fix into place, Democrats have sought to broaden their message to target Republicans over the issue of IVF as well.

In the wake of the ruling, Democrats targeted Republicans who had backed the Life at Conception Act; meanwhile, many GOP members sought to express their support for the fertility treatment. Republicans struggled, however, over how to proceed, particularly as legislation seeking to protect IVF access was stalled in the Senate by the party’s members.

But Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) announced Sunday in an op-ed with The Wall Street Journal that they would be introducing legislation that would offer national protections for IVF access.

“Republican politicians are cruel extremists who will stop at nothing to take away the reproductive freedom of all Americans,” Joe Jacobson, founder and executive director of Progress Action Fund, said in a statement.

“Voters have made it clear that they do not want deranged Republican politicians invading their bedrooms, their doctor’s offices, their pregnancies, or any part of their personal lives.”

Arizona has particularly become ground zero in the battle over abortion access, when the state Supreme Court last month upheld an 1864 abortion law that blocks nearly all abortions.

Several Arizona Republicans joined Democrats in the state Legislature to later repeal that law, but the issue has energized Arizona Democrats and shown how volatile abortion access can be across the country.

“Republicans are waging a war on families,” Swalwell said in a statement asserting Republicans wanted to ban IVF.

“Given the recent actions of the Arizona State Supreme Court to uphold a near-total abortion ban, Republicans in Congress blocking a bill to protect IVF treatments, and former President Trump’s appointment of judges who believe life begins at conception, politicians and judges have inserted themselves in one of the most personal of decisions – when and how to become a family.”