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Lawler criticizes GOP approach to IVF and abortion: ‘People want reasonableness’

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) on Sunday criticized the GOP’s approach to reproductive rights and said the party should work harder to understand where average Americans stand on these issues.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dana Bash asked Lawler — one of just a handful of House Republicans to support legislation to protect in vitro fertilization (IVF) — whether his fellow Republican members were on the wrong side of the issue.

“Look, if we’re going to be a party that supports life, then we should be fighting to protect the ability of families to become parents. I mean, that’s what this is about, ultimately. Millions of Americans struggle with infertility, and they rely on IVF to ensure that they have the joy of being a parent,” he said.

Lawler also noted the continued “political fallout” from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, which determined frozen embryos were children, causing some IVF services in the state to pause temporarily.

Lawmakers then passed legislation to address civil and criminal liability for IVF providers, prompting some health care providers to resume services.

Still, however, the backlash to the state’s high court ruling has had lingering effects. Just this past week, a Democrat flipped a GOP-held district by a wide margin, after she made reproductive rights central to her campaign.

“I think that decision that came down in Alabama was wrong. I think the Legislature obviously moved quickly, but there is political fallout from that. People want reasonableness. They don’t want extremism,” Lawler said.

Lawler said lawmakers need to do a better job of listening to their constituents.

“I am personally pro-life, but I do believe in exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother,” Lawler said. “And I have said very clearly I will never support a federal ban on abortion. This is a decision that will be made at the state level, and it will be made by the voters.”

“And I think we need to do a much better job of listening and understanding where people are on these issues,” he added.

“IVF is something that is critically important for families all across this country, and I believe it should be protected. And that is something where I have signed on to federal legislation to do that, given the fact that some states have not moved legislation to protect IVF.”

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