Where America stands on in-vitro fertilization and abortion rights

Below are five charts on where Americans stand on abortion and IVF procedures, the Alabama Supreme Court IVF ruling, and how the issue could bleed into the 2024 election

The author(s)
  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Editorial Director, US, Public Affairs
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Last month, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos could be considered people and that those who destroyed them could be held legally responsible, a ruling that reproductive rights activists said could put the future of in-vitro fertilization clinics in the state into question.

The Alabama legislature soon after moved to give immunity to doctors who perform IVF procedures, but not before sending a wave of panic across the nation.

Where do Americans actually stand when it comes to the ruling and access to IVF procedures? Below are five charts on where Americans stand on abortion and IVF procedures, the Alabama Supreme Court IVF ruling, and how the issue could bleed into the 2024 election.

  1. Abortions, IVF procedures aren’t uncommon. While difficult to measure, roughly a third of Americans personally know or have themselves used in vitro fertilization to try and conceive a baby. Far more know someone who have had an abortion or a miscarriage.
  2. The ruling was unpopular. Few Americans agree with the premise behind the IVF ruling. Only one in three support considering frozen embryos as people and holding those who destroy them legally responsible. Republicans are the exception here. However, even as Republicans are more likely to support this, only about half actually do.
  3. IVF ruling divides Republicans. The IVF ruling puts Republicans in a tricky spot. For Republicans, supporting anti-abortion legislation tends to be something their base supports. But when it comes to things like IVF and Plan B, things are tricky given that their base is divided pretty much down the middle.
  4. Abortion brings Americans out to vote. Why did so many top Republicans voice support for IVF access when their base is far more split on the issue? One potential reason: to avoid what happened in 2022 midterms, where abortion was a key issue Americans turned out to vote, potentially helping Democrats avoid major losses. This doesn’t necessarily mean the same will happen in 2024 – the dynamics of general elections are far different than the dynamics of midterm elections. But the point still stands that abortion and reproductive health are issues that bring people out to vote.
  5. Reproductive rights are a winning issue for Democrats. Abortion is an issue that would favor President Joe Biden in a potential rematch against Trump. If abortion and reproductive health becomes more of an issue in the 2024 election, Biden and the Democrats stand to benefit. Watch this space.

What can we make of all this noise? To start, the idea of considering frozen embryos as people doesn’t seem to be that popular, even among Republicans. On the other hand, Democrats may have been eager to capitalize on the issue given how strongly the Democratic base feels about reproductive rights.

At the end of the day, abortion and reproductive health are a winning issue for Democrats, and a losing one for Republicans. Will concern around reproductive rights linger come November? We will see.

The author(s)
  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Editorial Director, US, Public Affairs

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