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Billboards blaming Trump for Alabama’s IVF ruling are going up in Philadelphia

The Democratic National Committee is paying for billboards in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, as part of a national campaign.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association's Presidential Forum in Harrisburg earlier this month.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association's Presidential Forum in Harrisburg earlier this month.Read moreSteven M. Falk / Staff Photographer

Billboards slamming former President Donald Trump over a recent Alabama State Supreme Court ruling, which has threatened access to in-vitro fertilization, are going up in battleground states — including Pennsylvania.

The Democratic National Committee is paying for billboards in the Philadelphia area, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, as part of a national campaign that seeks to connect Trump’s role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the state court ruling last week that held that embryos have the same legal protections as children.

“Banning Abortion, Stopping IVF. Is Pennsylvania Next?” the billboards read, with a photo of Trump and a quote in which he brags about being “able to kill Roe v. Wade.”

Similar billboards will be placed in 40 locations across Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. In the Philadelphia area they will be visible from I-76-westbound near West Philadelphia, Route 30 in Downingtown, Route 1 in Langhorne, and West Germantown Pike in East Norriton.

The ruling in Alabama, which has had a constitutional ban on abortion since 2018, states that frozen embryos are considered children under an 1872 law. It’s created chaos in the state for families undergoing or planning to undergo IVF.

Since the ruling, Republicans have voiced support for IVF and said they oppose government restrictions on fertility treatments, aware of the unpopularity of restricting treatments to help people dealing with infertility, which impacts one in six people worldwide.

U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick said last week, “IVF is a ray of hope for millions of Americans seeking the blessing of children. I oppose any effort to restrict it.”

Trump also come out strongly against the Alabama ruling, calling on the state legislature to “preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama.”

“Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media site. “We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder! That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.”

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation called the billboards a fear tactic that ignores state law.

“The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act permits IVF and has done so for three decades,” spokeswoman Remil Teny said. “We know of no efforts to change the Abortion Control Act to ban IVF.”

But all the GOP defenses have done little to curb Democratic criticism on the party, which has spent decades seeking to overturn reproductive rights.

The Life at Conception Act, which has stalled in the House, was cosponsored by 125 House Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, and defines life as starting at the moment of fertilization, an interpretation that led to the Alabama ruling. The legislation does not include an exception for IVF.

Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) who will face McCormick in the fall, said the Alabama decision would not have been possible without the 2022 Dobbs ruling, which struck down Roe v. Wade and overturned the national right to an abortion.

“Republican politicians wiped away a nearly 50-year right and now we’re seeing the devastating consequences,” Casey said in a statement. “Women are being sent away from hospitals to get sicker before they can be treated and now Alabama women who desperately want a family are unable to get the care they need to conceive.”

Trump appointed three antiabortion Supreme Court justices who voted for the 5-4 decision.

The former president has repeatedly touted his role in the monumental change in abortion rights. Since the national protection ended, 21 states have implemented laws that restrict abortion earlier in pregnancy than the standard set by Roe, including 14 states which ban the procedure in almost all cases.

“Donald Trump is the reason why cruel abortion bans across the country are ripping away women’s reproductive freedom and threatening access to IVF for Americans trying to start a family,” DNC Spokesperson Rhyan Lake said in a release about the billboards.

In Pennsylvania, abortion remains legal up until 24 weeks of pregnancy. In 2022, former Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order that shields those seeking or providing abortions in Pennsylvania from laws in other states.

But the issue remains a salient one in elections here and was a key part of Democrat Dan McCaffery’s election the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court in November.