February 27, 2024

Sen. Tammy Duckworth to bring up vote on bill to protect access to IVF nationwide

Source: CBS News


Washington — Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, said she plans to bring up a vote on legislation that would safeguard access to in vitro fertilization nationwide on Wednesday, as the issue has come into the political spotlight in recent weeks following a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that has led clinics in the state to halt the treatments.

"They aren't just going to stop in Alabama. Mark my words, if we don't act now, it will only get worse," Duckworth said at a news conference on Tuesday. She said she plans to bring up a vote Wednesday on legislation that would protect "every American's right to become a parent via treatments like IVF."

Duckworth first introduced the legislation, known as the Access to Family Building Act, with Sen. Patty Murray of Washington in 2022. The bill would create federal protections for IVF access nationwide, overriding state limits.

Women who struggle with fertility issues have used IVF for decades to become pregnant. The procedure involves fertilizing an egg outside the womb and implanting the embryo into the uterus. The Alabama ruling found that embryos are children under state law, leading some providers in the state to halt services over fears that they could face legal repercussions if the treatment failed.

Duckworth said she plans to bring up a vote on the legislation under unanimous consent, which could be halted by opposition from just a single lawmaker. In 2022, Senate Republicans blocked the vote.

The Alabama ruling has threatened to become a political liability for Republicans in recent days, since polls show that large majorities of Americans of both parties strongly favor access to IVF and other fertility treatments. The issue has emerged as a new front in the battle over reproductive rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

"Donald Trump suddenly supports IVF after crowing and claiming and taking credit for the fall of Roe v. Wade. You can't do both," Duckworth said. "And so let's find out tomorrow if any Republicans show up to block the unanimous consent."

By:  Kaia Hubbard