Senate Tees up Vote on In Vitro Fertilization Bill

Senate Democrats are expected to bring a bill granting a federal right to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to the floor for a vote on June 13 as they seek to shine a light on reproductive issues.

Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Right to IVF Act last week, combining four of their previously introduced bills into one.

The legislation would establish a universal right to receive and provide fertility treatments, including IVF; expand access to such treatments for veterans and military members; and require both federal and private health insurance plans to cover IVF services.

Ms. Duckworth, a veteran herself, noted at a June 12 press conference that she had her two daughters through IVF.

“My battle with infertility was one of the most heartbreaking struggles of my life,” she said, adding that her miscarriage was “more painful than any wound I earned in Iraq.”

The Right to IVF Act, she said, would provide “real solutions that would help tens of thousands of Americans every year build the families of their dreams.”

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The move to cement a right to such treatments follows a controversial Alabama Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that embryos created through IVF are legally children under state law.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed over the destruction of three couples’ frozen embryos at a hospital that provided them with IVF services.

The ruling prompted several IVF providers in the state to suspend their services in fear of future litigation.

Most returned to business as usual after state lawmakers passed a law to shield them from liability, but the hospital that was sued has announced that it will suspend all IVF services after this year.

The aftermath has led some to fear that similar situations could arise in other states, resulting in a lack of access to IVF services.

For Democrats, who are still reeling over the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the federal right to abortion, the issue has become a pillar of the party’s 2024 platform.

“Eighty-six percent of Americans support IVF, but in the aftermath of Roe, when after frightening decisions like the one from Alabama, many families fear that this basic service cannot be taken for granted,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on June 11 on the Senate floor.

“That’s not theoretical,” he continued. “Here in Congress, some on the hard right are already trying to restrict IVF access. The Senate can ease people’s worries and protect their freedoms through legislation.”

Republicans’ Responses

Republicans, who have widely expressed support for IVF, have brushed off Democrats’ claims as fearmongering for political gain in a high-stakes election year.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told The Epoch Times that he supports IVF but will not be voting for the Democrats’ bill.

“They don’t want to talk about the border, they don’t want to talk about Biden, they don’t really want to talk about Trump. They want to talk about anything else.”

The legislation needs the backing of at least nine Republicans to pass a filibuster.

For some, the IVF treatment process poses moral and ethical concerns regarding the disposal of embryos that are not used or wanted.

“The act explicitly waives the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and would subject religious and pro-life organizations to crippling lawsuits,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), chair of the Senate’s Pro-life Caucus, said in February when the bill was first introduced.

“Religious and pro-life organizations could be forced to facilitate procedures that violate their core beliefs, including their health insurance plans.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said the bill goes too far in requiring insurers and the government to pay for patients’ IVF services.

“IVF is legal everywhere in our country, so there’s no need for the bill,” he told The Epoch Times on June 11.

“It’s entirely a messaging bill,” he said. “And they’ve added one part of the message that’s not going to work, and that is they want IVF to be free—have insurers pay for it and the government pay for it for everybody in the country. That’s not going to fly.”

Democrats have chosen June to highlight reproductive issues as the nation will mark two years since Roe’s reversal on June 24.

Last week, they brought legislation to the floor that would have established a right to contraception.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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