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Donald Trump says he supports IVF after Alabama ruling puts pressure on Republicans

In World
February 24, 2024

Former US president Donald Trump said on Friday that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF” and called on lawmakers in Alabama to preserve access to the treatment.

It was his first comment since an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that led some providers in the state to suspend their in vitro fertilisation programmes and has left Republicans divided over the issue.

Trump, in a post on his Truth Social network, said: “Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder!”

The comments come after a ruling by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court, among the nation’s most conservative judicial panels, that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. Since then, some Alabama clinics and hospitals, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system, have announced pauses on IVF services.

US Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley greets supporters at a campaign stop in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, on Friday. Photo: EPA-EFE

The fallout has deepened divisions among conservatives over abortion and other reproductive services in a campaign year already fraught with debates over whether Republicans should pursue national abortion limits after the US Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalised abortion nationwide.

Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, his last remaining major opponent for the 2024 nomination, have both cautioned against an absolute national ban.

As president, Trump nominated three of the justices who overturned Roe and paved the way for state lawmakers across the country to impose dramatic restrictions on access to abortion.

Trump and Haley are campaigning on Friday ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina Republican presidential primary, in which the former president is the overwhelming favourite, despite Haley having been twice elected South Carolina governor.

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The Alabama decision almost certainly will not change the party’s primary dynamics, but the conversation carries important implications for the general election as Republicans try to avoid being tagged by Democrats as too extreme on reproductive policy.

Haley said on Thursday, after the Alabama ruling, that she views human embryos, which are the earliest form of development after fertilisation, as “babies”.

But she also said she disagrees with the Alabama court and said the state’s legislators should “look at the law”. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Republican legislative leaders had already started that conservation before their party’s presidential candidates weighed in.

In his social media post, Trump steered clear of declaring embryos to be distinct humans worthy of legal protection. His statement focused instead on the practical considerations for would-be parents trying to start families.

An embryo is viewed through a microscope in New York in October 2013. Photo: AP

IVF is typically a months-long process for couples or women who have struggled to conceive and maintain a viable pregnancy naturally. The treatments can cost patients tens of thousands of dollars, with no assurances that an implanted embryo will become a viable pregnancy and end with a healthy child.

“I’m pro-family,” Donald Trump Jnr said on Friday in Charleston, campaigning on his father’s behalf not long before the elder Trump issued his statement. “Families should do what they want to be able to make families.”

Trump Jnr said he had not discussed the specifics with his father since the Alabama ruling but said he and his father both know families who have used IVF as a path to having children.

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