February 27, 2024

Duckworth leads reproductive rights charge after Alabama IVF ruling

Source: FOX 32 Chicago


WASHINGTON - Democratic senators, led by Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, are pushing for the protection of reproductive rights in the aftermath of a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling regarding in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The ruling, which deemed frozen embryos created through IVF as children under state law, has sparked outcry among lawmakers advocating for reproductive freedoms.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined Senator Duckworth and fellow Democrats on Tuesday to unveil the "Access to Family Building Act." The proposed legislation aims to safeguard the right to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies.

For Senator Duckworth, the issue carries personal significance, as she relied on IVF to conceive her two daughters.

"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. 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," Duckworth said.

Reproductive rights attorneys emphasize that any legislation passed must specifically address individuals' rights to make decisions regarding their own embryos.

"My biggest concern is we are moving, moving away from the ability for people to make decisions for themselves, for their families. And a decision like this in Alabama may spur a legislature in another state. And my understanding is this has already been beginning to happen to draft legislation to create legal status for an embryo that is not appropriate," said Nidhi Desai, Deputy Director, The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Attorneys.

The Alabama court ruling originated from wrongful death lawsuits filed by couples whose embryos were accidentally destroyed in a storage facility.

The ruling has also prompted several major clinics in the state to halt their IVF programs.

By:  Sylvia Perez