GOP congresswoman who used IVF wants to ban IVF

It’s been a really rough week for Republicans who hate reproductive rights, and Republican Rep. Michelle Steel of California is no exception.  

“As someone who struggled to get pregnant, I believe all life is a gift. IVF allowed me, as it has so many others, to start my family,” she tweeted Thursday. “I believe there is nothing more pro-life than helping families have children, and I do not support federal restrictions on IVF.”

Great! Just one teeny tiny little problem with that, as Inside Elections editor Jacob Rubashkin noted: Steel actually does support federal restrictions. Steel is one of the co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act, a House bill that “declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

And as Rubashkin points out, there is no carveout in the bill for in vitro fertilization. Oops!

Ever since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that “unborn children”—including frozen embryos created for IVF—”are children,” and multiple hospitals and clinics have announced they are pausing IVF treatment because of it, Republicans like Steel have been scrambling to figure out how to respond.

It’s a real problem for the GOP, and it’s only going to get worse. On the one hand, they’ve spent years pushing legislation, like the bill Steel cosponsored, to declare that life begins at conception, every sperm is sacred, and an embryo is the exact same thing—and entitled to the exact same legal rights—as a live human being with a name and a Social Security number.

On the other hand, the ruling out of Alabama is absolutely batshit insane, and even Republicans know it, which is why they’re now trying to pretend this isn’t the direct consequence of their actions and rhetoric to convince everyone—or at least conservatives in the judiciary—that, as the Republican-controlled Alabama Supreme Court held, “unborn children are children.”

The problem is that IVF is popular because, as Steel notes, it has helped so many people to be able to start their families. And starting families is supposed to be a Republican value.

But darn the luck, it’s a slippery slope from “unborn children are children” to “frozen embryos are the exact same thing as children” to double oops, sorry, you can’t use IVF to start your families anymore. As Republicans are now learning the hard way.

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