IVF Package Set for Vote in The Senate

By: David Donovan | Published: Jun 13, 2024

Democrats are making a push for reproductive rights this month, two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, despite almost certain opposition from Republicans. 

The Senate is scheduled to vote on a legislative package to protect access to IVF on Thursday afternoon.

Alabama Supreme Court

After the Alabama Supreme Court decided earlier this year that embryos are regarded as children under state law, providers stopped providing fertility treatments.

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Alabama Supreme Court Building from street level

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This brought the issue to the attention of the entire nation although the Legislature later approved legislation to safeguard IVF in the state.

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Reproductive Rights

Democrats blamed Republicans all over the country as the development raised concerns about similar actions elsewhere and signaled a new front in the fight for reproductive rights.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivers remarks at the signing of H.R. 5376, the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022”

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated on Tuesday, “In the aftermath of Roe and after frightening decisions like the one from Alabama, many families fear that this basic service cannot be taken for granted.”

Right to IVF

The four bills that make up the Right to IVF Act are scheduled for a procedural vote in the upper chamber on Thursday afternoon. 

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Supreme Court exterior a white neo-classical building

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Some of the bills, including some that have been blocked by Senate Republicans before, are included in the package. 

Senator Backing

Several senators are sponsoring the package, which has almost no chance of being approved. 

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Tammy Duckworth is sworn in as assistant secretary of veterans affairs for public and intergovernmental affairs by Judge John J. Farley on May 20, 2009

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These include Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington, and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and centers on the right to receive and provide IVF services while attempting to lower the cost of those services.

Assured Rights

Access to assisted reproductive services like IVF would be made legal under one measure. 

Tammy Duckworth giving a speech on Memorial Day with members of the military around her.

X user SenDuckworth

In February, Duckworth attempted to get the bill passed with unanimous consent; however, one Republican senator objected, claiming that it would go too far. 

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Republican Blockers

Earlier this year, a Republican senator also blocked a measure in the package that would have expanded veterans’ access to fertility treatments. 

Tammy Duckworth with fellow CAPAC members posing for a photo on steps

X user SenDuckworth

By requiring insurance plans to cover IVF, other provisions aim to cut costs for Americans as prices rise.

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Contraception Access

Last week, Democrats tried to advance legislation protecting access to contraception in the Senate, but the majority of Republicans opposed it. 

President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, signs an Executive Order to Strengthen Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception and Family Planning Services, Friday, June 23, 2023

Flickr user The White House

This was another attempt to promote reproductive rights that was unsuccessful. The two votes are part of a Democratic campaign to draw attention to reproductive rights this month in preparation for the upcoming elections, which Republicans have criticized.

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Schumer’s Input

Schumer stated at a news conference on Wednesday, “Protecting IVF, like protecting contraception, is not a show vote, it’s a show-us-who-you-are vote.”

Schumer standing in front of a wall exhibit

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However, a driving force at the polls has been the desire of Senate Democrats to put Republicans on record regarding issues pertaining to reproductive rights.

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Senator Commentary

According to Murray in a news conference: “Every single Republican needs to answer clearly for the record: do you want our laws to protect IVF or do you want laws that say frozen embryos have the same rights as living, breathing human beings?”

Patty Murray speaking to a veteran in a wheelchair on a red carpet.

X user PattyMurray

What’s more, with regards to IVF, despite the fact that Senate conservatives have to a great extent communicated help for the fertility medicines directly following the Alabama ruling, officials give off an impression of being in conflict over a way ahead that would fulfill the two parties.

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Unlikely Support

Two Republicans in the Senate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Alabama Representative Katie Britt put forward legislation to safeguard IVF access, urging bipartisan support. 

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at El Paso International Airport greeted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

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However, Democrats reacted swiftly, questioning the legislation’s scope and mechanism.

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Democrat Rejection

On Wednesday, Cruz and Britt endeavored to support the regulation under unanimous consent, to seize the Democrat-led vote on Thursday. 

Patty Murray in a boardroom with four other men discussing PNW Hydrogen Hub

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Murray, on the other hand, resisted the move, describing it as a “PR tool” and arguing that it was “ridiculous to claim that this bill protects IVF when it does nothing of the sort.”

Even though the Democrats’ IVF package is unlikely to move forward, at least one Republican, Maine Senator Susan Collins, has stated that she will vote to move the package forward.

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