Democrats Focus IVF Fire On Vulnerable GOP House Incumbents

Rep. Michelle Steel

Rep. Michelle Steel

Republicans continue to flounder when it comes to protecting access to IVF, and Democrats are intent on making it even worse for them. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign organization designed to elect House Democrats, released a scathing memo Monday, blasting “so-called moderate House Republicans” who seek “political cover by backing non-binding House resolutions that do nothing to actually protect access to this vital health care.”

“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is poised to make House Republicans’ blatant disrespect for women and families a defining campaign issue,” the memo continues. They’re taking particular aim at members of the Biden 17—the 17 House Republicans who occupy districts that Joe Biden won in 2020—who have rushed out competing House resolutions to say how much they love IVF, but have refused to actually protect the treatment. They are empty promises, and Democrats won’t let them get away with it.

Democratic contender Derek Tran is using the DCCC’s message and running hard at GOP Rep. Michelle Steel in California’s 45th District, which Biden won by 6 percentage points in 2020. Steel is cosponsoring one of the nonbinding resolutions expressing support for IVF, but she is still a cosponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which declares that fertilized eggs have all the protections of actual human beings.

Steel is a “fraud,” Tran told NBC News. “She continues to spill out lies,” Tran said. “Just three weeks ago, she signed on to the Life at Conception bill. This is the second time she’s done that. And now she’s saying that she’s pro-IVF when the Life at Conception bill is anything but. So she still is just spilling out lies in order to get voters.”

Those vulnerable House Republicans sure aren’t going to get any guidance from their leadership. Here’s mushy Speaker Mike Johnson trying to have it all ways: “Look, I believe in the sanctity of every human life. Always have,” he told NBC. “And because of that I support IVF and its availability.” Oh, and he has “many close friends” who have used IVF.

“It needs to be readily available. It needs to be something that every American supports. And it needs to be handled in an ethical manner,” he said, complaining that there is “a lot of misunderstanding” about where Republicans stand on it. That’s no misunderstanding at all—that’s Republicans refusing to say whether they believe IVF needs to be statutorily protected.

This is a potent issue for Democrats, and they know it—from the Biden-Harris reelection team down to the DCCC. In a new CBS News/YouGov poll, a whopping 86 percent of Americans said IVF should be legal. The message from Democrats is simple: “House Republicans are flagrant hypocrites who have spent their entire tenure in the majority attacking reproductive rights at every turn,” Courtney Rice, a spokesperson for the DCCC, told HuffPost. “Now, they are hiding behind toothless resolutions and empty public statements because they know their relentless attacks on reproductive freedoms will cost them at the ballot box.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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