Senate Republicans block legislation to protect IVF

Senate Republicans block legislation to protect IVF

Senate Republicans have blocked a bill to protect in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The Right to IVF Act, championed by a group of Democrats, will not be voted on by the US Senate as nearly every GOP member voted to block cloture — that is, voted for an end to debate — on the legislation.

“It’s a very sad day for millions of Americans who want to become parents but struggle with infertility,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Today, nearly every Republican just blocked a bill that would’ve protected people’s access to IVF.”

“Now that the hard right has finished eliminating Roe, they’re setting their sights on IVF,” he continued, referring to the overturn of Roe v Wade.

Only two Republican Senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted for the legislation. Collins told The Independent on Monday that she would vote for it despite her reservations.

“I wish we would bring some serious legislation to the floor rather than just messaging bills that are voted on just as we’re departing town,” Collins said.

Senator Tammy Duckworth led the push, comparing Republicans who oppose IVF to arsonists.

“Like arsonists opening a fire insurance business after they’ve set fires and that insurance doesn’t actually cover fire damage, a couple of Republicans even proposed a messaging bill with a goal of misleading Americans into thinking that the GOP wants to protect IVF,” she continued.

Senate Republicans introduced a similar bill last week — the IVF Protection Act — that would have withheld federal Medicaid funding to states that ban IVF. Senator Ted Cruz dismissed these concerns, telling The Independent Democrats “could have protected IVF yesterday” if they voted for the GOP bill, which he led alongside Senator Katie Britt.

But Democrats shot the bill down because they say it has a key omission: it did not address state efforts to criminalize disposing of nonviable embryos during the IVF process.

That concern about criminalizing IVF stems from a February ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court classifying frozen embryos are classified as children under state law. As a result, three of Alabam’s largest IVF centers paused treatment over concerns they could face criminal charges.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House are also fighting to codify IVF protections.

A coalition of House Democrats previously introduced a companion to the Senate bill that calls for similar IVF protections: the Access to Family Building Act. That act was championed by several Democrats, including Representative Susan Wild and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who have both undergone IVF treatments.

Wild says their bill also expands access to IVF for veterans and active-duty military, ensuring they will have access to treatments regardless of the state in which they’re stationed.

“This is why we need federal codification of this right,” Wild said. “It is so unfair to our military families to face the prospect of either not being able to continue IVF treatment or get it at all depending on what their next duty station is.”

Wasserman Schultz told The Independent on Thursday that Republicans need to do more than say they support IVF — they need to vote to codify protections.

“Comments are not codification,” Wasserman Schultz told The Independent. “The only way that we can ensure that women’s reproductive decisions aren’t further eroded — like they were completely obliterated with Dobbs — is to put it in federal law.”

Meanwhile, nearly every Senate Republican blocked a measure last week that would protect the right to contraception in the United States as GOP lawmakers across the country are blocking efforts to ensure access to birth control.

More to come…

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