Democrats target anti-IVF House Republicans with billboard campaign

April 2, 2024

House Democrats’ campaign arm announced a set of billboard ads Tuesday targeting vulnerable Republicans who backed a bill that would have banned in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) effort doubles down on the party’s attempts to make IVF a key campaign issue ahead of November. The issue came under the spotlight in February after the procedure was briefly banned in Alabama after a court ruling. 

While Alabama Republicans overrode the court ruling with legislation, attempts to codify federal protections for IVF have failed to garner much Republican support in the House or Senate.

The five-figure spend targets eight House GOP members or candidates from swing districts who supported the Life at Conception Act, a bill the DCCC described as “extreme,” which could have established a federal abortion ban and banned IVF procedures.

The bill granted constitutional protection to embryos at “the moment of fertilization,” which some have interpreted to mean banning IVF procedures and abortion.

Targets for the billboard campaign include Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Scott Perry (R-Penn.), as well as former Reps. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) and Mayra Flores (R-Texas).

“House Republicans will stop at nothing — including outlawing in vitro fertilization — to reach their ultimate goal: banning abortion and restricting reproductive rights nationwide,” DCCC spokesperson Justin Chermol said in a statement. 

“We will not let Americans forget that extreme House Republicans, including those who pretend to be moderates, continue to put politics over families by championing out-of-touch legislation that chips away at freedom,” he added.

The Life at Conception Act had more than 166 Republican cosponsors when it was first introduced in 2021. Over 125 Republicans signed onto a version of the bill introduced last year.

Republicans have accused Democrats of attempting to make IVF a political issue in the wake of the Alabama ruling. 

Steel and Bacon have since distanced themselves from the Life at Conception Act, with Steel removing her name from the 2023 version and Bacon saying he refused to support the current proposal over concerns about IVF.