House Republicans say they support IVF but are divided on how to protect it

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia — House Republicans said they emphatically support in vitro fertilization astatine their yearly argumentation retreat present this week. But they’re each complete nan representation connected really to protect entree to nan curen that has helped millions of families person children.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Congress doesn’t person a domiciled to play — it’s an rumor that should beryllium handled by individual states. But he and much than 120 different Republicans person signed onto authorities from West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney that could frighten nan usage of IVF for pregnancy, a process successful which unused embryos aliases those pinch abnormalities tin beryllium discarded.

Meanwhile, Republicans facing reliable re-election bids this autumn are grappling pinch nan IVF rumor successful nan aftermath of nan Alabama Supreme Court’s stunning ruling past period that embryos are considered children, raising questions astir nan legality of IVF and sparking a nationalist debate.

Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Calif., who represents a plaything territory successful Orange County, withdrew her co-sponsorship from Mooney’s Life astatine Conception Act, saying she backs IVF. And connected Wednesday, freshman Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., who represents a competitory Hudson Valley-based territory became the first Republican to motion onto House Democrats’ measure protecting entree to IVF, calling it “just commonsense.”

The bill’s Democratic author, Rep. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, said Molinaro exhibited a “profile successful courage” and that she welcomes different Republicans getting connected board.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., a caller mother who flipped a Democratic spot successful 2022, concisely signed onto Wild’s IVF measure but withdrew her sanction past month. On Thursday, she introduced her ain IVF protection legislation, nan Right to Try IVF Act.

“I person ever supported nan responsible usage of IVF. IVF is an astonishing invention of modern medicine that helps families person children who would different beryllium incapable to do so. ... IVF is Pro-Life, and has helped truthful galore families, respective of whom I cognize personally,” Luna said successful a statement.

GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican and nan highest-ranking GOP female successful Congress, said susceptible Republicans cognize their districts nan champion and should beryllium talking astir issues of life — for illustration IVF and abortion — connected nan run trail. 

“We judge it’s important for our members to prosecute connected this rumor and not, you know, instrumentality their heads successful nan sand, which I deliberation immoderate imaginable candidates had done successful nan past,” Stefanik told a mini group of reporters during nan GOP’s three-day gathering astatine nan historical Greenbrier resort. 

“My position is I’m pro-life pinch exceptions for rape, incest … but I’ve ever spoken to this rumor pinch compassion, and I powerfully support IVF,” added Stefanik, who has aggressively recruited female GOP candidates during her clip successful Congress. “Members are going to motion onto bills that they support and again, my position is I support IVF, and nan House Republicans support IVF nan speaker powerfully supports IVF, nan apical of nan ticket, President Trump, supports IVF.”

Attendance is sparse astatine nan GOP retreat, pinch 1 root saying astir 100 lawmakers — little than half of nan 219 Republicans successful nan House — made nan four-hour autobus thrust to ruby-red West Virginia. 

Both Molinaro and Luna said they would not be nan retreat, wherever impermanent speakers included Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser and March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, arsenic good arsenic Israeli Ambassador to nan U.S. Michael Herzog and erstwhile Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden.

Asked by NBC News astir Molinaro co-sponsoring nan Democrats’ measure and Steel withdrawing from nan Life astatine Conception Act, Johnson said he afloat supports IVF but said it’s an rumor that should beryllium decided by nan states. 

"It’s not my belief that Congress needs to play a domiciled here," Johnson, an evangelical Christian who often quotes nan Bible, said astatine a news convention Thursday. "I deliberation this is being handled by nan states. Look, we support entree to IVF. We believe, I believe, personally, this is my individual belief, successful nan sanctity of life and we know, Kelly and I cognize galore families, beautiful families that were created pinch nan usage of that technology."

“We request to do it ethically and well, and I deliberation nan states are handling that well. But it’s thing that we should protect entree to. And I deliberation each Republican is committed to that idea,” he continued. “Life is simply a beautiful thing. I deliberation nan estimate is astir 8 cardinal babies person been calved because of IVF since its creation successful nan precocious 70s. And that’s a singular point and it’s thing we ought to protect and preserve, and I deliberation our statement is surely committed to that.”

Democrats feel strongly that Congress needs to protect entree to IVF pursuing nan Alabama ruling and nan Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. They besides judge that reproductive authorities issues will thief propel them to triumph successful 2024. Republicans hardly captured power of nan House and grounded to triumph nan Senate successful nan 2022 midterms, months aft nan Supreme Court's Roe determination that gutted nan law correct to abortion. 

The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling past period that embryos created done successful vitro fertilization are children sparked a fierce backlash crossed nan state and different information of GOP hand-wringing. In response, nan GOP-controlled Alabama legislature passed a measure protecting IVF, and this period GOP Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law.

Wild, nan writer of nan Democrat’s IVF bill, praised Molinaro for joining her legislative push.

“Rep. Molinaro, and immoderate personnel of Congress who is consenting to put partisan authorities speech and do what’s correct for nan American people, deserves a floor plan successful courageousness award. I dream that he is nan first of galore Republicans to subordinate maine successful nan conflict to protect IVF and different assisted reproductive technologies, and I’m gladsome this measure is yet receiving nan attraction from crossed nan aisle that it deserves,” Wild told NBC News.

“It reflects nan outpouring of support I’ve seen from group successful my organization crossed nan governmental spectrum, who are agreed successful defending each hopeful parent’s expertise to commencement aliases turn their family,” she said.

The House Democrats’ run arm, which is moving to conclusion Molinaro this fall, wasn’t arsenic generous, highlighting his support for definite abortion restrictions.

“Marc Molinaro publically supported nan overturning of Roe v. Wade, voted to punish doctors for providing reproductive attraction and to restrict abortion attraction for work members, and is indisputably connected nan grounds supporting sweeping abortion restrictions,” DCCC spokesperson Ellie Dougherty said. “No matter really difficult he tries to rotation it, Molinaro can’t erase his utmost schedule that’s attacking reproductive freedoms and endangering New York women.”

Scott Wong

Scott Wong is simply a elder legislature newsman for NBC News.

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca is simply a shaper and off-air newsman covering Congress for NBC News, managing sum of nan House.