Senate Democrats Renew Election Year IVF Protection

Senate Democrats on Monday introduced a legislative package aimed at protecting access to in vitro fertilization (IVF), part of an election-year push to focus on reproductive rights and signal to Republicans that they are opposing it. resist efforts.

The Right to IVF Act, sponsored by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), is a package of four bills that would both establish a nationwide right to IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART), and reduce the cost of IVF treatment to make it more affordable.

The package includes the Access to Family Building Act, the Veteran Families Health Services Act, the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care, and the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act.

All four have been introduced previously, although only Duckworth's Access to Family Building Act reached the Senate, where Republicans blocked an attempt to pass it by unanimous consent.

“In the nearly two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, our country has seen the horrific consequences of Republicans' anti-science, anti-women crusade, which has jeopardized IVF for millions of Americans who rely on it to provide their families establish or grow,” Duckworth said in a statement.

Duckworth tried to pass her bill in February, but Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) objected, dismissing the bill as an overreach full of “poison pills” that would go far beyond guaranteeing access to IVF.

Democrats are hammering Republicans on reproductive rights ahead of the November elections, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to focus on the issue this month ahead of the third anniversary of the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade.

They are attacking access to abortion, contraception and IVF, trying to hold Republicans' feet to the fire and force them to answer uncomfortable questions about the full impact of strict anti-abortion policies and their belief in the personality of the fetus.

So far, 13 states have introduced fetal personhood bills that would affect the legality of IVF.

Access to IVF took center stage this winter when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos are children and thus protected when it comes to the state's wrongful death statute.

The decision received immediate backlash from both sides of the aisle. Many Republicans rushed to distance themselves from the ruling, saying they fully supported IVF, and the Republican Senate campaign arm called on candidates to reject efforts to regulate access to the procedure.

But Republicans have largely avoided detailing how clinics should handle unimplanted viable embryos, because many seem to agree that embryos are children with equal rights.

In late May, Senators Ted Cruz (Texas) and Katie Britt (Ala), Republicans who are staunchly anti-abortion, introduced a bill that they said is aimed at protecting IVF.

The legislation would prevent states from receiving Medicaid funding if they implement bans on IVF. Cruz and Britt also said the legislation would ensure IVF is fully protected under federal law, although it does not create a right to IVF.

The bill creates an incentive for politicians not to pass legislation banning IVF, but it would not prevent a court from restricting the procedure, like what happened in Alabama.

“Unlike GOP legislation that would not protect IVF and is merely a PR tool for Republicans to hide their extremism, our Right to IVF Act would actually protect Americans from efforts to restrict IVF and give more people access to it essential services at lower costs. Murray said.

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