January 18, 2024

New Democrat-Backed Bill Would Protect IVF Access Nationwide Amid Post-Roe Concerns

Source: Forbes


Two Democrats plan to introduce legislation on Thursday that would safeguard access to assisted reproductive technology treatments such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF, amid fears that some states’ abortion bans could threaten access to the procedures.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said in a statement to Forbes the bill—dubbed the Access to Family Building Act—would “establish a statutory right to access IVF and other [assisted reproductive technology] for every American” regardless of the state they live in.

The bill would establish a right for patients to continue their treatments and authorize how sperm or egg cells are used throughout, according to CNN, which first reported on the legislation that will be introduced by Duckworth and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Penn.).

“Without the miracle of IVF, I wouldn’t have my beautiful baby girls—and there are so many other people like me who have had trouble getting pregnant and relied on IVF to start the families of their dreams,” Duckworth said.

While the Supreme Court’s 2022 overturn of Roe v. Wade—which gave states the ability to ban or heavily restrict abortion—did not automatically restrict access, experts told Forbes the imprecise language in some state-level laws could potentially include the procedures. Some state laws could count IVF—which discards or freezes surplus embryos—as an abortion, especially in states pushing to give rights to fetuses, embryos or fertilized eggs. In late 2022, Republicans blocked a unanimous consent bid for a bill that would add federal protections for patients to access birth control and IVF.

The bill’s odds are unclear—especially since similar past measures have failed. To become law, it will need to pass the GOP-run House, and a Senate that is narrowly under Democratic control. It is not the first time Duckworth and Wild have proposed legislation that would protect access to IVF and other fertility treatments—though past attempts did not clear legislative hurdles.

By:  Cailey Gleeson