PAF in LBGTQ Nation: This over-the-top ad targets Republican opposition to IVF

By Alex Bollinger 

A Democratic super PAC is targeting Republicans over potential IVF restrictions, which started earlier this year when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that state laws protecting “unborn children” also apply to those “located outside of a biological uterus.”

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a process where several fertilized embryos are created outside the uterus and then implanted in order to help a person get pregnant. The process uses multiple embryos to increase the chances of resulting in a pregnancy, and extra embryos can be frozen and sometimes destroyed. Many same-sex couples use the procedure to help build their families.

Some conservatives oppose IVF because of the destruction of embryos, and the Alabama Supreme Court cited the Bible in its ruling, which resulted in several clinics in the state stopping their IVF procedures.

The Progress Action Fund launched a new ad called “Republicans Stealing Your Baby” last week, which shows a straight white couple with a baby who they refer to as their “IVF miracle.”

Then, an old white Republican lawmaker appears and takes the baby away.

“Sorry, she’s not yours anymore,” he says. “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 mother says.

“I won the last election, so it’s my decision,” the Republican responds. “If you want a baby, you have to make one the old-fashioned way, and I’ll be watching.”

The group is spending $250,000 to air the ad in Arizona on television, streaming, and online platforms. Arizona’s fetal personhood law, passed in 2021, has an exemption for IVF, although lawyer Heather M. Strickland told AZ Central that the exemption is “not very clear.”

“So even with that exception, I was concerned about what it would really mean for IVF,” she said.

“Republicans are waging a war on families,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said in a statement supporting the ad. “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.” 

In Alabama, Republican lawmakers passed a bill to carve out an exemption to its fetal personhood bill to allow IVF to continue, although it didn’t address the state supreme court’s claim that fertilized embryos are legally human beings.

At the federal level, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt (R-AL) introduced a bill to protect IVF out of concern that more states would ban the procedure.

For critics, Republicans’ rush to protect IVF in the face of attacks on IVF caused by Republican anti-abortion measures makes it appear as though anti-choice activists are not particularly concerned with protecting “unborn children” so much as they are with forcing women to carry pregnancies to term.