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White House hits Johnson for uncertainty on IVF ruling

The White House is bashing Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for saying Thursday that lawmakers have “to grapple with” questions about whether destroying embryos is murder after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled embryos are children, temporarily pausing some in vitro fertilization (IVF) services in the state.

In an interview with CBS host Tony Dokoupil, Johnson was asked whether destroying embryos is murder. He replied, “It’s something that we’ve got to grapple with,” recalling that IVF was invented in the 1970s.

The White House argued comments like his mark the distinction between Republicans and President Biden ahead of Thursday’s State of the Union address.

“Tonight President Biden will stress to the country whose side he’s on, and congressional Republicans are already helping him make that case. Speaker Johnson just said on live TV that we have to ‘grapple with’ the idea that IVF is murder,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. 

Johnson, in his interview, also said it’s up to state lawmakers to determine how to handle clarifying for medical professionals if they can dispose of embryos.

“I think policymakers have to determine how to handle that. We need to look at the ethics surrounding that issue, but it’s an important one,” the Speaker said. “If you do believe that life begins at conception, it’s a really important question to wrestle with. It’s not one Congress has dealt with, and it won’t be. I think it’s a states issue, and states will have to be handling it.”

The White House has criticized the Alabama decision and defended the need to protect IVF after clinics closed in the state in the aftermath of the ruling. Biden is expected to talk more about protections for IVF and other reproductive rights in his address.

“The American people don’t want extremism to drag them into the past — they want to move forward,” Bates said.

The White House last month put the spotlight on a Republican bill that declared life begins at conception, describing it as extreme and dangerous. Johnson is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Source: The Hill

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