In a transparent attempt to salvage votes, Alabama Republicans have introduced a bill that would save in vitro fertilization across the state—but only until after the upcoming election.
On Tuesday, the Alabama legislature introduced Senate Bill 159, which would grant third-party fertility clinics immunity from IVF lawsuits. The measure follows a devastating ruling issued by the all-conservative Alabama Supreme Court earlier this month that classified single-celled, fertilized eggs as children, and which effectively stalled IVF access across the state.
The new bill would offer a great solution for a decision that affects roughly one in five married couples—if it weren’t for the fact that a 2025 automatic repeal date is baked into it.
Republicans have been roundly slammed for the restrictive ruling, with critics deriding it as the Handmaid’s Tale–esque outcome of the party’s decades-long crusade on reproductive rights across the country. As a result, the party has been on a tear in an attempt to save its “pro-family” branding.
The Senate Republican campaign arm recently issued a memo urging its political candidates to “clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF.” But the effort casually glosses over the fact that many GOP lawmakers (including 166 House Republicans) supported the 2021 Life at Conception Act, which sought to recognize fertilized eggs as children at the federal level.
Republicans’ recent promises will be put to the test as early as Wednesday, when Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth will introduce legislation to protect IVF at the federal level.
On Tuesday, Duckworth told NPR’s All Things Considered that she wasn’t happy to see the Republican-led effort to protect IVF in Alabama, claiming the party was only “covering their butts.”
“This is not just about one state and one Republican state politician who wants to try to cover his butt on this,” Duckworth said. “This is about the fact that Republicans across the nation have for decades now worked as hard as they can to give rights to a fertilized egg that are far greater than a living, breathing human being and to take away women’s access to reproductive health care.”
Duckworth’s bill is seeking unanimous consent to pass, calling the method the “fastest way to move forward”—assuming Republicans actually put their money where their mouths are. “And if they truly believe it and support IVF, then they won’t show up to object,” Duckworth said.