Dems. plan to force vote on federal IVF bill & test Republicans who claim they support protections

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, July 28, 2016 Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) addresses the Democratic National Nominating Convention in the Wells Fargo Arena
Photo: Shutterstock

In the wake of Alabam’s ruling against IVF [in vitro fertilization], Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is working to rush a bill through the Senate that would federally protect Americans’ right to access IVF. But multiple Republican Senators have already indicated they aren’t going to let it happen.

Duckworth is trying to pass the proposal through unanimous consent, meaning even one senator’s objection would cause the bill not to pass.

While no one has expressly stated they’re planning to vote no, Politico reported that some have hinted at their intentions to do so.

“I don’t see any need to regulate it at the federal level,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS). Marshall is an OB/GYN, a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, and the female reproductive system. Referring to the 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned abortion rights nationwide, Marshall said, “I think the Dobbs decision puts this issue back at the state level, and I would encourage your state legislations to protect in-vitro fertilization.”

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) reportedly voted against the same bill when Duckworth proposed it in 2022, but refused to comment on what she plans to do this time around.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) said that, while he has not yet looked specifically at Duckworth’s bill, “it’s idiotic for us to take the bait” in regards to Democrats using the bill to force Republicans to publicly declare whether or not they support IVF.

Republicans have been scrambling to show support for IVF in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling. The ruling declared that frozen embryos have the same rights as children. The court’s decision has already caused several fertility clinics in the state to shut down their IVF services.

Despite pushing for decisions like that of the Alabama Supreme Court, the Republican party is now reportedly worried it will lose favor with the hordes of voters who support expanded IVF access, including many who consider themselves pro-life.

But many of these Republicans have found themselves victims of their own hypocrisy, as 125 Republicans – some of whom have released statements supporting IVF –  are co-sponsoring a bill declaring that human life begins at conception, without an exception for IVF embryos.

Duckworth used IVF to conceive her two children and recently shared her experience at a press conference.

“It’s a little personal to me when a majority male court suggests that people like me who are not able to have kids without the help of modern medicine should be in jail cells and not taking care of their babies in nurseries,” she said. “I know I’m not alone when I struggle to understand how politicians who support this kind of policy can possibly call themselves pro-life.”

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