Sen. Rick Scott Pledges to Protect IVF Access in New Ad


Rick Scott, the junior of the two Republicans representing Florida in the U.S. Senate, has pledged to protect Americans' access to in vitro fertilization in a new campaign ad for his re-election campaign. "In vitro fertilization has brought beautiful babies to so many families,” Scott said in the ad.

In vitro fertilization refers to the process in which a woman's egg is removed from her ovaries and fertilized by a sperm in laboratory, and inserted into the woman's uterus with a catheter. The procedure can be a last-hope way for couples to become pregnant when traditional conception methods are ineffective.

The legality of in vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF, has been called into question in the time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, stripping Americans' right to receive an abortion. Most notably, the Alabama Supreme Court in February ruled that clinics could be held legally responsible for wrongful death in the event of the accidental loss of an embryo while conducting IVF.

IVF in the 2024 Election

Alabama's ruling has been criticized by both sides of the political aisle, with several prominent members of the Republican Party disavowing the stance of the majority-conservative court. The presumptive nominees for each major party in the 2024 presidential election, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, have both agreed to support IVF access.

Senator Rick Scott has joined a growing list of Republicans who've vocally supported IVF in the process of his bid to win another six years in office. Still, he used the moment to levy criticism against Democrats who he says have perverted his stance on reproductive rights.

“I refuse to let any Democrat try to lie about my stance on IVF and contraceptives in their desperate attempt to try to win an election,” he said. "Attack ads say the same crazy stuff about every Republican. They hate women, birth control, even IVF. It’s ridiculous." He also went on to highlight that his own daughter is presently undergoing IVF treatments in an attempt to become pregnant.

Two Parties Offer Two Solutions

Both Republicans and Democrats have introduced legislation in the Senate to support the continued right to IVF access. Republicans' bill, the IVF Protection Act, was co-sponsored by Ted Cruz of Texas and Katie Britt of Alabama. It would strip federal Medicaid funding from states who pass a ban on IVF, but would not codify the right altogether or strip funds in the case of a court ruling such as Alabama's.

Democrats' proposal is the Right to IVF Act, introduced by Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington, and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Their bill would codify the right to IVF access, as well as expand its availability through health insurance and military/veterans' benefits.

Rick Scott supported a Senate resolution in March to declare support for IVF, but the resolution was non-binding and would not affect the legality of the procedure. His likely general election opponent, Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, has accused him of being disingenuous in his IVF statements. “Actions speak louder than words, and despite what Rick Scott wants Floridians to think, he refused to stand up and protect Americans’ access to IVF when he had the chance,” she said. "Floridians aren’t buying his lies."

Public Opinion on IVF

Though the two parties are divided on whether to mandate access or disincentivize the loss of access, their support for the general availability of IVF is backed up by public opinion. An April poll by the Pew Research Center showed that 70% of adults in the U.S. support IVF access. 8% outright didn't support it, with 22% unsure.

IVF support in Pew's poll extended across nearly every demographic. Men and women support it nearly equally at 69% and 70% respectively. White evangelicals support it at 63%, compared to 65% among Catholics, 69% among Black Protestants, and 78% among nonreligious adults. 63% of Republicans support it, as do 79% of Democrats.

The only area with significant variance in Pew's results summary was the stance among respondents of different opinions on abortion access. Those who support legal abortion in all cases were 82% in favor of the same for IVF, compared to 76% IVF support for those who support legal abortion in most but not all cases. Those who support outlawing abortion in most cases support IVF access at a rate of 60%, and those who propose the outright ban of abortion under any circumstances only support IVF access at a 40% rate. An equal number of adults in that last category were unsure of their IVF stance.