House Republicans Just Endorsed an Abortion Ban That Could Also Ban IVF

Members of the House Republican Study Committee released a budget for the fiscal year 2025 that backs the Life at Conception Act—a bill that would grant personhood to embryos from fertilization and could ban IVF nationwide.

House Republicans Just Endorsed an Abortion Ban That Could Also Ban IVF

After weeks of frenzied denials from Republican politicians that they do not want to ban IVF (or, in the case of House Speaker Mike Johnson, concerningly ambiguous and non-committal comments on the fertility technology), a new budget backed by 80% of House Republicans provedagain—that it was all bullshit. First reported by HuffPost on Thursday, the House Republican Study Committee—which comprises 80% of the caucus, including Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Brian Mast, Steve Scalise, Kevin Hern, and Johnson—released a budget proposal for the fiscal year 2025, which backs the Life at Conception Act.

The bill, which drew over 125 Republican co-sponsors last year, grants legal personhood rights to embryos starting from “the moment of fertilization,” meaning the bill could effectively ban IVF nationwide. The Life at Conception Act has yet to be put to a vote but has come under unique scrutiny—along with its co-sponsors and backers—in light of recent, heightened threats to IVF. In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are “children” who qualify for wrongful death lawsuits. Not only did this plunge access to IVF—which requires routine destruction of embryos—into chaos across the state but it also means there’s now terrifying legal precedent for the anti-abortion, anti-science “life begins at conception” framework.

Several fertility clinics in the state almost immediately paused their IVF services out of fear of costly lawsuits that could bankrupt them, and embryo transportation services also paused their operations, preventing IVF patients from moving their embryos to different states. 

In a press release rolling out the proposed budget, Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (OK) didn’t address the budget’s support for a bill that could potentially outlaw IVF, instead focusing on congratulating House Republicans: “[O]ur Task Force Members have done incredible work to get this done a month early. Conservatives have a plan to restore fiscal sanity—it’s time to get to work!” he wrote in a statement.

At the end of last month, the Alabama legislature passed a law to protect fertility clinics that provide IVF services. But some legal experts have expressed concern the protections afforded in the law are insufficient—and the door remains open for other states whose abortion bans recognize fetal personhood to similarly, effectively outlaw IVF, an outcome that anti-abortion activists have been unsubtly advocating for, for years. On the federal level, following this “logic,” a bill like the Life at Conception Act could throw IVF into question across the country.

This comes just a week after Senate Republicans blocked a bill to establish protections for veterans and military service members to access IVF—and, the week before that, a bill to codify federal protections for IVF on the federal level for the second time since 2022. Four Republican members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus also sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday opposing the president’s proposed policy to expand IVF access for unmarried veterans and veterans in same-sex marriages. The letter contained disturbing language stating that IVF creates “a surplus of embryos” that “are likely to result in abandoned, or cruelly discarded human life.”

And on the state level, Alabama Republicans who backed the pro-IVF bill seem to be an outlier: In Tennessee earlier this month, Republicans blocked a bill to protect IVF by arguing the bill would weaken the state’s total abortion ban—pretty transparently giving away the game that IVF and abortion are inextricably linked in the party’s extremist agenda.

In sum, the House Republican Study Committee’s 2025 fiscal budget proposal presents just the latest reminder that when it comes to IVF—and most things, really—consider anti-abortion lawmakers’ actions and policy positions over their words.

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