(Bloomberg) -- GOP senators blocked a Democrat-led effort Wednesday to federally protect in-vitro fertilization, downplaying the effects a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling will have on their electoral odds in November. 

Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked the bill, contending it goes “far beyond IVF” and contended it would allow the genetic engineering of human embryos, commercial surrogacy and even “human-animal chimeras.”

But Democrats doubled down on their message to voters that conservative opposition to reproductive rights will endanger women’s access to more than just abortion. Democrats are sounding the alarm on potential effects on fertility treatments, contraception and more if Republicans win the House, Senate or White House later this year. 

The Alabama Supreme Court ruling drew criticisms from both sides of the aisle, with members of both parties highlighting the importance of IVF for families struggling with fertility issues. But while Democrats urged swift legislative action to protect IVF on a federal level, many Republicans said that power belonged to the states. 

“No other state has in any way impacted IVF treatment,” said Utah’s Senator Mitt Romney a Republican, who opposes restrictions on fertility treatments but emphasized Alabama will take legislative action to protect IVF. Romney acknowledged the Alabama decision could weigh on voters in 2024, it’s not likely to have the same broad negative impact that overturning Roe v. Wade had on Republicans in 2022. 

Still, Democrats are already seizing on possible blocks to IVF and access to certain kinds of contraception.

“Everything’s on the table when it comes to women making their own reproductive decisions,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a member of Senate leadership. “I think Republicans absolutely will take this as far as they think they can.” 

Stabenow and other Democrats predicted that voters will be thinking of the Alabama case when they vote in November. Democrats are well-positioned to retake control of the House this year and while the Senate map is favorable for Republicans, backlash to conservatives based on reproductive rights could cut into their advantage. 

“This is an issue about people’s ability to control their own bodies and decide when and whether to build a family,” said Wisconsin’s Senator Tammy Baldwin, whose seat is rated “lean Democrat” by the Cook Political Report. “And I think people who stand in the way should be judged by that.” 

Republicans’ defense will include pointing to states’ role in determining IVF policy and stressing the importance of nuance when defining whether embryos are considered children. Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, for example, suggested a court could define an embryo fertilized inside a person differently than one created through in-vitro fertilization. 

Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma pointed to his own family’s experiences with fertility issues and said the Alabama ruling doesn’t represent where Republicans stand on IVF. He said the presence of a heartbeat could help determine whether an embryo should be considered a child. 

Jason Thielman, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said abortion-related backlash to Republican candidates in 2022 came from Republican silence on the issue that allowed Democrats to shape the narrative. Thielman noted that ex-President Donald Trump, the de facto leader of the GOP, and other prominent Republicans have vocally supported IVF access. 

“You need to have as many voices as cleanly, as loudly, and with as much unanimity as possible, articulate what your position is and isn’t,” Thielman said. 

--With assistance from Zach C. Cohen.

(Updates with Hyde-Smith quote in second paragraph. An earlier version corrected title for Mullin.)

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