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Don’t Believe One Word Ohio Republicans Say in Support of In Vitro Fertilization

save the children

By Marilou Johanek, Used with Permission from Ohio Capital Journal

Don’t believe a word. The same extremists lining up to support a federal abortion ban, that would override hard-earned reproductive freedoms in states like Ohio, are now tripping all over themselves to profess their support for IVF and personal choice. Yeah right. The truth is freedom-killing MAGA Republicans were caught off guard after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos (created and stored for in vitro fertilization) are children under state law. 

Public reaction to the decision — that repeatedly invoked scripture as its legal foundation for effectively stopping in vitro fertilization treatments across Alabama — was highly negative. Of course it was. Millions of Americans struggle with infertility issues. Many have turned to IVF for hope. So the patriarchal zealots on a mission from God to force their religious beliefs down our throats — to control what you read, say, do, who you marry, when and how you have kids — saw the polls on IVF and rushed to pretend they would absolutely protect access to it.

Don’t believe a word. The extreme agenda of Christian nationalists to inject government into our private lives and subjugate women as vessels of the state was bluntly exposed in the Alabama IVF case. MAGA Republicans, inextricably linked to that extremism with their minority rule, panicked. It’s an election year. An urgent, if superficial, GOP course correction was hastily activated in MAGA circles to minimize political fallout in the wake of the IVF outrage. 

It is “imperative that our candidates align with the public’s overwhelming support for IVF and fertility treatments,” warned the memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Every Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio took heed and raced to cover their anti-choice backsides. Every one of them affirmed their solidarity with those appalled over the Alabama ruling. Every one of them is a fraud. 

Just a few months ago, Frank LaRose, Bernie Moreno, and Matt Dolan aggressively opposed a statewide issue that established a constitutional right “to one’s own reproductive medical treatment,” including the freedom to make decisions on abortion, contraception, fertility treatments, continuing one’s own pregnancy and miscarriage care. LaRose spearheaded the campaign against access to reproductive choices that encompassed IVF.

Multi-millionaire Moreno fought reproductive freedoms with six-figure donations to anti-abortion groups mobilized to defeat the right of Ohioans to make their own reproductive decisions. Matt Dolan disparaged the constitutionally protected freedoms Ohio voters decisively approved last November as too extreme — and then disparaged voters as being too dim to really understand what they were voting for. 

Heading into the March 19 GOP primary, all three Republicans say they’re open to canceling the will of state voters to impose federal restrictions on abortion rights and reproductive health care. The day an Alabama court decreed frozen embryos “extrauterine children” and the legal equivalent of human beings in a wrongful death lawsuit, Moreno suggested that his religious certainties about embryonic personhood were in sync with the court’s.

 “Your faith teaches you that life begins at conception,” he said, which would seem to preclude access to IVF services. LaRose echoed similar beliefs about life starting at fertilization that concurred with the religious views that influenced the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court in  finding that fertilized eggs have the same legal status as people — which prompted an immediate pause in IVF treatment at hospitals and fertility clinics in the state. 

It’s not the first or last time the religious (not scientific) concept of fetal personhood justified banning abortion from the moment of conception or ending popular fertility treatments for would-be parents. There is a right wing through line from the theocratic justices on U.S. Supreme Court, who overturned Roe and punted on prenatal personhood, to the scripture-quoting state supreme court justices in Alabama, who granted legal status to frozen embryos, and the uptick in fetal personhood bills introduced in scores of Republican-dominated legislatures in the country. 

Ohio House Republicans have pushed their own extreme versions of personhood-at-conception legislation to ban abortion outright and threaten IVF medical practices in the state (for fear of being criminally culpable for discarded embryos not implanted.) Even after abortion became a constitutional right in Ohio, anti-abortion advocates continue their Statehouse crusade to obstruct or obliterate that right with bills drafted to ultimately overturn Ohio’s constitutional amendment protecting reproductive freedoms. 

Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a zealous opponent of allowing women to make their own health care choices, is dragging out litigation to keep the state’s six-week anti-abortion law on the books — although abortion rights are enshrined in the Ohio Constitution — to save “other provisions” of the draconian ban that might pass constitutional muster?? He’s brandishing his anti-abortion bona fides, instead of respecting the voters of the state, for a possible gubernatorial run in 2026. Depressing.

The GOP’s Handmaid’s Tale of dystopian extremism has come home to roost for MAGA Republicans at war with women and their fundamental right to self-determination. The party owns what Dobbs has wrought in pain and suffering. No matter what its presumptive presidential nominee (who is most responsible for Dobbs) says about the Alabama IVF ruling or what a bunch of course-correcting senatorial candidates say after fighting to deny women their reproductive rights and reproductive choice — don’t believe a word.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    So Bruce, does this mean you don’t accept Donald Trump’s profession of support for IVF as sincere? Can it be God ordained a man to save America (from whatever) who is incapable of sincerity?
    If everyone in Ohio had equal opportunity to vote and have heir votes counted, perhaps Ohio would not be minority ruled. When Blackwell shamelessly pulled most of the voting locations from Democrat (meaning black) neighborhoods, he got away it like a bandit. Once Secretaries of State got that kind of power it was inevitable it would be abused and the likes of Blackwell was not shy about sticking it to his fellow black Ohioan voters.

  2. Avatar

    The extremists are all about controlling women, period. They want us to be in service industry jobs but not in positions of power that would compete with white men. There, I said what they are thinking put loud. However, there are going to be a lot of wealthier white families who will balk at the state telling them they can’t pursue fertility treatments through IVF. The extremists backed themselves into a corner and are trying to recant a little. They still want to control women, but they went too far, too fast, and pissed off wealthy people.

  3. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    DutchGuy–Knowing what I know about God (the one Christians believe in, anyway), it doesn’t surprise me that his proxy would be a man incapable of sincerity or honesty.

    OC–That is a great observation. Some of those wealthy people donated to the campaigns of Trump, who appointed the judges who helped to overturn Roe v Wade, and the politicians who would have done it themselves, want IVF. It will be interesting to see what they do.

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