Rosendale Splits from Republican Caucus on IVF

Rosendale has papered the hallway outside his congressional office with posters claiming ‘IVF Destroys More Life than Planned Parenthood’

By Tom Lutey

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale is waging war on federally funded in vitro fertilization at a time when his Republican caucus is steering clear of an issue that’s proving radioactive in reproductive politics.

On Thursday, Rosendale was papering the hallway outside his congressional office with posters claiming “IVF Destroys More Life than Planned Parenthood.” Earlier in June he proposed amendments to defense spending bills that would prohibit the federal government from paying for in vitro fertilization as a medical benefit. Rosendale’s amendments were rejected by the House Rules Committee.

Rosendale, who represents Montana’s eastern U.S. House district, is making his stand as fellow federal lawmakers try to avoid state-level opposition to IVF, which ignited in February when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled to recognize frozen fertilized embryos as living humans under state law. 

“If you proclaim, which many, many people have, that life begins at conception, there is absolutely no way that they can reconcile supporting taxpayer dollars being utilized for IVF across the nation, which is estimated to destroy, to kill, roughly 700,000 babies every year, or freeze them or perform experiments on them,” Rosendale told Montana Free Press. 

House Republicans, including Rosendale’s fellow members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, are pushing back during an election year in which abortion politics are already a challenge. Rosendale, however, isn’t seeking re-election.

“I’ll do everything in my power to protect IVF. Period. Full Stop. End of story,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-South Carolina, said on X, formerly Twitter, in response to Rosendale announcing his amendment to ban IVF spending from the Department of Defense budget.

Mace is attempting to limit Medicaid funding to states that ban in vitro fertilization.

Rep. Ryan Zinke, of Montana’s western congressional district, said on X in March, “IVF makes the miracle of parenthood possible for so many families, I unequivocally support continued access to the treatment.”

In the Senate, Democrats are using their narrow majority to advance IVF legislation, putting Republicans in a tough spot. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on June 13 called a vote on a bill to make IVF treatment a national right. All but two Senate Republicans — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voted against the bill. Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester voted for the bill. Republican Sen. Steve Daines was opposed.

Daines supports IVF, spokesperson Rachel Dumke told MTFP, as do the other Republicans who voted against the bill.

“He’s putting on these show votes to fear monger,” Dumke said of Schumer, a New York Democrat. “Daines supports IVF and he will continue to do so. And so do all of the Republicans in the Senate.”

This story originally appeared in the Montana Free Press, which can be found online at montanafreepress.org.