June 03, 2024

Duckworth, Murray, Booker Unveil Sweeping Legislative Package to Establish a Nationwide Right to IVF and Lower IVF Costs for Families

The Right to IVF Act represents the Senate Democrats’ commitment to make it easier for all Americans to access and afford IVF treatment needed to build their families


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – As Republicans and the anti-abortion movement continue their state-by-state attacks on reproductive freedom in post-Roe America, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator and Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today unveiled a new, sweeping legislative package that would both establish a nationwide right to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) as well as lower the costs of IVF treatment for the millions of families who need it to have their children.

“In the nearly two years since the Supreme Court threw out Roe v. Wade, our nation has seen the horrific consequences of Republicans’ anti-science, anti-woman crusade that has put IVF at risk for millions of Americans who rely on it to start or grow their family,” said Senator Duckworth. “Struggling with infertility is painful enough—every American deserves the right to access the treatment and tools they need to build the family of their dreams without the fear of being prosecuted for murder or manslaughter. I’m proud to unveil this sweeping legislative package with my colleagues that would actually protect the freedom to receive or provide IVF nationwide, while making these treatments more affordable and accessible for the millions of American families—including military families and Veterans—who are experiencing infertility across the country.

“Republican attacks on reproductive rights since the Dobbs decision have not stopped at abortion—their reckless crusade to criminalize basic reproductive health care and give embryos the exact same rights as living, breathing human beings has put IVF in jeopardy and endangered the lives of pregnant women,” said Senator Murray. “We saw what happened in Alabama, where families’ lives were thrown into chaos and their dreams of having children ripped away because of extreme Republican ideology—this should never happen anywhere in America. Unlike GOP legislation that would not protect IVF and is only a PR tool for Republicans to hide their extremism, our Right to IVF Act would actually protect Americans from attempts to restrict IVF and would allow more people to access these vital services at a lower cost. Importantly, this legislation includes my bill to help veterans and servicemembers access IVF—these are women and men who have sacrificed so much for our families and should never have to sacrifice their ability to start their own.”

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must recommit ourselves to protecting reproductive freedoms and Americans’ right to make their own medical decisions,” said Senator Booker. “Extreme court rulings have made it crystal clear that access to IVF treatments are under threat across America, which is why I am working with my colleagues to introduce this comprehensive package of bills that will ensure that the freedom to start and grow a family is protected and accessible to everyone in the United States.”

“In the nearly two years since the MAGA-right Supreme Court released the disastrous Dobbs decision, the Republican party has been on a relentless crusade to strip women of their reproductive rights,” said Leader Schumer. “Senate Democrats are fighting for women, for families, and for personal freedoms. IVF is just the latest example of Republicans vilifying something that has been an invaluable aide to countless American families and is widely supported by the American people. We must enshrine the right to these vital services and work to make sure that they are accessible for those who are experiencing infertility.”

Building on the lawmakers’ previous efforts to protect and strengthen access to IVF, this pro-family, pro-freedom legislative package includes:

  • Senator Duckworth’s Access to Family Building Act, which would establish a nationwide right for patients to access IVF and other ART services, a right for doctors to provide IVF treatment in accordance with medical standards as well as a right for insurance carriers to cover IVF without prohibition, limitation, interference or impediment. By establishing a statutory right, this would pre-empt any state effort to limit such access and ensuring no hopeful parent—or their doctors—are punished for trying to start or grow a family.
    • In February, Senator Duckworth sought unanimous consent to pass this legislation and Republican U.S. Senator of Mississippi Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked it.
  • Senator Murray’s Veteran Families Health Services Act, which would expand the fertility treatments and family-building services that are covered under servicemembers’ and Veterans’ health care to include—among other things—the option for individuals to cryopreserve their gametes (freeze their eggs or sperm) ahead of deployment to a combat zone and in vitro fertilization (IVF) for servicemembers and veterans who are unable to conceive without assistance.
    • In March, Senator Murray sought unanimous consent to pass this legislation and Republican U.S. Senator of Oklahoma James Lankford blocked it.
  • Senator Booker’s Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act, which would increase affordability of fertility care—including IVF—by requiring employer-sponsored insurance plans and other public insurance plans to cover fertility treatments. Additionally, it would standardize a baseline of high-quality fertility treatment coverage under private health insurance plans, while protecting Americans against excessive out-of-pocket costs.
  • Senator Duckworth’s Family Building FEHB Fairness Act, which would require Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world—carriers to cover IVF and ART to help more hardworking Americans start and grow their families.

A copy of the bill one-pager can be found on the Senator’s website.

The Right to IVF Act is supported by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“The 1 in 6 people who struggle with infertility and want to pursue medical treatment like IVF to build their family, face far too many obstacles,” said President and CEO of RESOLVE Barbara Collura. “While lack of comprehensive insurance coverage continues to be the biggest obstacle, the threat to the availability of IVF continues to grow. Year after year, RESOLVE’s brave advocates ask Congress to pass pro-family legislation that will help them build their family. And today, the U.S. Senate has heard our pleas. We are thrilled to see the Senate take up the Right to IVF Act, legislation which would not only protect IVF across the U.S. but bring real access to so many including our veterans, service members, and federal employees who want a chance at parenthood. Our community can’t wait any longer – let’s pass the Right to IVF Act.”

“ASRM applauds the introduction of the Right to IVF Act. This omnibus package of pro-family building bills will create a statutory right for healthcare professionals across the country to provide IVF and increase access to IVF for the patients who our members serve,” said ASRM President Dr. Paula Amato. “For decades, ASRM has led the call for federal protections for IVF and insurance coverage for IVF for all Americans, including service members, veterans, and federal employees. This package is truly IVF for all, and we urge the U.S. Senate to pass it right away.”

Throughout her time in the Senate, Duckworth has made protecting reproductive freedom and expanding access to IVF top priorities in the face of Republicans’ anti-choice crusade. When Senator Hyde-Smith blocked Senator Duckworth’s Access to Family Building Act from passing through unanimous consent, this was the second time Senate Republicans blocked Duckworth-led legislation that would protect access to IVF nationwide. The Access to Family Building Act builds on previous legislation she introduced in 2022.

Meanwhile, while Senate Democrats continue their efforts to protect IVF and reproductive freedom, Senate Republicans continue to make it clear that they want to further undermine access to basic healthcare for millions of Americans. Duckworth condemned the so-called “IVF Protection” bill led by U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt (R-AL) that would actually incentivize state legislatures to both ban IVF and defund Medicaid at the same time—unpopular, extreme policies that far-right Republican policymakers have sought to do for decades.

Duckworth and Murray also joined their Senate Democratic women colleagues in excoriating new legislation introduced by Senate Republicans that would create a new government-run website to collect data on pregnant women and direct them to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers and other “resources” to pressure women into carrying pregnancies to term, no matter their circumstances.

Duckworth was the first Senator to give birth while serving in office and had both of her children with the help of IVF. In 2018, she advocated for the Senate to change its rules so she could bring her infant onto the Senate floor.