Election 2024

Pro-IVF & abortion candidate wins special election in Alabama & gives Democrats hope for November

Marilyn Lands
Marilyn Lands Photo: Campaign website

Democrat Marilyn Lands is projected to win her election to the Alabama House of Representatives after running a campaign that focused heavily on increasing access to abortion and in vitro fertilization (IVF), both of which have been under attack in the state. Her win could point to the power of those issues for Democrats in November. Her win is the first net gain for Democrats in either chamber of the Alabama legislature since 2002.

“Last month, Alabamans lost access to fertility treatments because of Donald Trump,” the Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. “Tonight, the voters in Alabama’s 10th House District elected a pro-choice champion in Marilyn Lands, sending Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans a clear message: they know exactly who’s to blame for restricting their ability to decide how and when to build their families, and they’re ready to fight back.”

Last month, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos, whether they are implanted or not, are children and have the same legal rights. While their ruling was based on the state constitution and the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, Chavez Rodriguez was likely referring to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the federal right to an abortion, which all of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointees supported.

Both cases involved limits on reproductive freedom and rested on the idea that fertilization is when legal personhood begins. IVF, which is the most common method of assisted reproduction, involves the production of multiple fertilized embryos to increase the chance of a resulting pregnancy. Embryos are often lost in the process because they fail to implant or don’t survive the IVF process, and extra embryos may eventually be destroyed. LGBTQ+ parents often rely on IVF to have children.

Lands campaigned on ending restrictions for both procedures.

“Today, Alabama women and families sent a clear message that will be heard in Montgomery and across the nation,” Lands said after she won the election. “Our legislature must repeal Alabama’s no-exceptions abortion ban, fully restore access to IVF, and protect the right to contraception.”

Democrats hope that this election is a sign that reproductive freedom will drive voters to the polls for them in November. Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Heather Williams said that Lands’s win is a “political earthquake in Alabama.”

“This special election is a harbinger of things to come,” she said. “Republicans across the country have been put on notice that there are consequences to attacks on IVF — from the bluest blue state to the reddest red, voters are choosing to fight for their fundamental freedoms by electing Democrats across the country.”

Lands ran for the same office in 2022 but lost to Republican David Cole. Cole resigned last August, just months into his first term, after pleading guilty to a charge of voter fraud. Lands will serve in the legislature until 2026.

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