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2024 Election

Democrats intensify their IVF messaging in new billboards, tying Trump to the Alabama ruling

Democrats are attacking Trump on the Alabama IVF decision in new billboard ads across eight battleground states that launch Tuesday.
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Democrats are ramping up their messaging around an Alabama Supreme Court ruling over in vitro fertilization, drawing a direct line from the decision to former President Donald Trump as the party seizes on a firestorm of backlash over the decision. 

In public appearances, through surrogates, on social media and now on billboards across eight battleground states, Democrats — from President Joe Biden on down — are blaming the Alabama court’s ruling that embryos are human on Trump’s shaping of the U.S. Supreme Court and its subsequent overturning of Roe v. Wade. The fall of Roe, which came after Trump appointed three conservative justices, gave states control over abortion rights, including determining when life begins. 

In plans first shared with NBC News, the Democratic National Committee is expected to launch advertising Tuesday on dozens of billboards across Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with a message tying Trump to the IVF ruling, including a quote when he boasted about his ability to reverse Roe. 

One of the billboards will read: “Then: ‘I was able to kill Roe v. Wade.’ Now: Alabama Court Ruling stops IVF. Banning abortion, Stopping IVF. Is Georgia next?” Each is personalized to the state it is in, and some are bilingual.

Democratic National Committee

The ads are the latest example of Democrats’ focus on abortion and reproductive rights, underscoring what a crucial role the issue is expected to play in the fall election. 

The Alabama Supreme Court last week ruled that embryos created through IVF are children under state law, setting off widespread confusion and panic among those using the procedure. The ruling prompted a slew of legal concerns among doctors, IVF facilities and companies transporting frozen embryos over how unused embryos are discarded and the culpability surrounding any embryos that may be accidentally damaged. 

University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital was among several clinics that stopped IVF treatments last week, citing legal uncertainties. Some transport services announced a pause on shipping embryos to other states, also citing the state court’s ruling. 

Amid the backlash last week, Trump expressed his support for IVF on his Truth Social platform. 

“I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Today, I am calling on the Alabama Legislature to act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Democrats' messaging. 

But Biden quickly charged that Trump was trying to shroud his own role in setting the stage for the decision. 

“Make no mistake,” Biden said in a statement last week. “This is a direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.” 

At a roundtable event in Michigan last week, Vice President Kamala Harris pointed to Trump’s appointment of three Supreme Court justices as a link to the Alabama ruling. 

“Ask who’s to blame,” Harris said. “And I’ll answer that question: When you look at the fact that the previous president of the United States was clear in his intention to hand-pick three Supreme Court justices who would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. And he did it. And that’s what got us to this point today.”