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Democrat overwhelmingly takes seat from GOP in Alabama amid IVF debate

A Democrat easily won a once Republican-leaning district after making reproductive rights a central message in her campaign.
Democrat overwhelmingly takes seat from GOP in Alabama amid IVF debate
Posted at 6:31 AM, Mar 27, 2024

In the wake of an Alabama Supreme Court decision that affected access to in vitro fertilization treatments in the state, an Alabama Democrat overwhelmingly stunned her Republican opponent, taking a seat in the heavily GOP-leaning state's House of Representatives. 

Marilyn Lands won with over 62% of the vote in the special election. She easily defeated Republican rival Teddy Powell, who had less than 38% of the vote. 

Lands will soon represent the state's 10th House district, which covers the southern and western suburbs of Huntsville. 

Republican David Cole previously held the seat. According to The Associated Press, Cole resigned from the seat after pleading guilty to voter fraud charges for using a fraudulent address to run in a district he did not live in. 

In 2022, Cole defeated Lands by a 52-45 margin. 

SEE MORE: Members of House GOP protest 'morally dubious' IVF access for veterans

Democrats made the recent ruling that hampered IVF access a major issue in the election. They noted that the decision was made after conservatives on the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

“Last month, Alabamans lost access to fertility treatments because of Donald Trump," the Biden campaign 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."

In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of a group of couples who sued a hospital that stored their frozen embryos at the time they were destroyed. The couples sued the hospital under Alabama's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The court said that the act applies to all children, born and unborn, and without limitation. The court added that it is not up to them to craft limitations to the act. 

Weeks later, lawmakers changed the law, restoring access to IVF treatments within the state.

On Lands' website, she made reproductive rights a central issue, saying she would support overturning Alabama's abortion ban. Powell's campaign message was more focused on economic issues.

"I hope to focus on taking the successes we’ve seen in Madison to Montgomery to increase the quality of life around Alabama for everyone that lives in or visits our state," Powell said when he announced he was running. 

Lands will hold onto the seat until the 2026 election. Republicans still hold 75 out of the 105 seats in the Alabama House. 

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