Donald Trump, under fire over abortion, calls on Alabama to reverse course and protect IVF

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Facing attacks on the Republican Party's opposition to abortion rights, former President Donald Trump called on Alabama lawmakers Friday to reverse a state Supreme Court decision that has nearly halted in vitro fertilization in that state.

"We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder!" Trump said on his Truth Social website, commenting on an Alabama Supreme Court decision that ruled frozen embryos are children.

Speaking a day before the South Carolina Republican primary, Trump said "that includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every state in America."

Trump read his statement supporting IVF to supporters at a get-out-the-vote rally in Rock Hill, telling his South Carolina supporters that "I wanted you to know that."

The state court decision has paralyzed IVF in Alabama, Trump said, adding that the state - and the Republican Party - should encourage births.

Donald Trump and Nikki Haley
Donald Trump and Nikki Haley

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is opposing Trump in Saturday's primary, initially told NBC News about the Alabama Supreme Court decision: “Embryos, to me, are babies . . . When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”

However, Haley later said on CNN that she thinks Alabama should take a second look at the issue. “I had artificial insemination," she said. "That’s how I had my son."

She added: “I think that the court was doing it based on the law, and I think Alabama needs to go back and look at the law."

Trump spoke out on the Alabama embryo ruling as Democrats hammer him and other Republicans over their opposition to abortion rights.

The Alabama ruling, they said, is the natural result of the 2022 Supreme Court decision reversing Roe vs. Wade, giving states the rights to set abortion rights.

Campaign aides to President Joe Biden and others scoffed at Trump's comments.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said, "Let’s be clear: Alabama families losing access to IVF is a direct result of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturning Roe v. Wade."

Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, said Trump "will say anything to get re-elected, but voters know he cannot be trusted. He has repeatedly lied and flip-flopped about his views on reproductive freedom."

Some Republican candidates, including Trump, are in a bind on the issue. While moderate voters generally support abortion rights, many conservatives want GOP candidates to take a hard line on their goal of ending all abortions.

Trump and other Republicans have expressed concern that issues of abortion and reproductive rights will work against them in the fall elections. He said Republicans should be careful in how they address the abortion issue. At other times, he has bragged about how he appointed three justices to the Supreme Court who backed the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party's Senate campaign arm, said in a memo released Friday that GOP candidates should "clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government" to restrict in vitro fertilization.

In his statement, Trump said most Republicans "strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby. Today, I am calling on the Alabama Legislature to act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama."

Trump spoke out a few hours before the rally in Rock Hill, S.C., where he again spent most of his time attacking Biden and Haley. The former president also protested his 2020 election loss and defended himself against criminal indictments in four separate cases.

"It's a big fat scam," Trump said at one point.

Trump also stressed his support for IVF in a late night speech to the Black Conservative Federation in Columbia, S.C. "We want to help people," Trump said.

In the early afternoon on Saturday, as South Carolina Republicans head to the polls, Trump will be in the Washington D.C., area speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Trump is a heavy favorite in South Carolina. He is polling at just under 61% in the state while Haley is at 37.5%, according to an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump asks Alabama to reverse court decision on embryos and IVF