December 15, 2022

New Duckworth, Murray, Wild Bill Would Protect Right to Build a Family Through IVF, Other Assisted Reproductive Technology for All Americans


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)—Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)—as well as U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA-07), are introducing legislation to protect every American’s right to access in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) that millions of Americans need to have children, including Senator Duckworth who relied on IVF to have her two daughters. The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would prohibit limiting access to IVF or any assisted reproductive technology to any American—regardless of their zip code.

“With Roe v. Wade thrown out by the Supreme Court and some states across the country looking to limit our most basic rights, millions of Americans are understandably worried about their access to healthcare, including access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology that they need to start or grow their families,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to introduce the Right to Build Families Act with Senator Murray and Congresswoman Wild because every American deserves the right to choose how they build their own family—no matter where they live.”

“Republicans’ extreme abortion bans are forcing women to stay pregnant against their will and are, at the very same time, threatening Americans’ ability to build a family through services like IVF. It’s hard to comprehend, and it’s just plain wrong,” said Senator Murray. “Every American should be able to build a family with help from assisted reproductive technology, and our bill will ensure that they can—in every part of our country. This is a truly commonsense bill, and I hope my colleagues will join us to protect Americans’ right to build a family on their own terms.”

“Living in one zip code or another should not limit any Americans’ ability to start a family,” said Congresswoman Wild. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Right to Build Families Act of 2022 alongside Senators Duckworth and Murray, ensuring that all Americans can access the reproductive technologies they need to start the family of their dreams, and that health care providers are confident in their ability to provide such care.”

The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would:

  1. Prohibit limiting any individual from accessing ART or retaining their reproductive genetic materials, including gametes;
  2. Protect healthcare providers who provide ART or related counseling and information;
  3. Allow the Department of Justice to pursue civil action against states that violate the legislation; and
  4. Create a private right of action for individuals and healthcare providers in states that have limited access to ART.

With the Supreme Court overturning Roe and some states enacting extreme abortion bans, many women have not only seen their constitutional right to abortion ripped away from them, but their ability to get treatment for cancer, lupus and more—and to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technology in order to build a family—have also been jeopardized. The new patchwork of state abortion bans has created significant confusion among patients and providers alike about what services doctors can and cannot provide—including assisted reproductive technology—in states with the most restrictive laws. These threats have led IVF centers to call for new protections. In a number of states, Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would restrict access to ART. In a recent leaked audio recording, a leading anti-abortion group advised state lawmakers to avoid discussing regulating IVF and contraception at this time but noted that restrictions could be revisited in a few years.

A copy of the bill one-pager can be found here.

Along with Duckworth and Murray, the legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Along with Wild, the legislation was co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03).

“In this post-Roe era, we expect states to imminently introduce legislation that would restrict access to in vitro fertilization — a devastating development for those looking to build their families,” said Barbara Collura, RESOLVE President and CEO. “The Right to Build Families Act is life-changing for those who are trying to fulfill their dream of having a baby but are concerned that IVF will no longer be legal in their state. We are incredibly grateful for the steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment of Senator Duckworth, Senator Murray, and Congresswoman Wild to protect IVF and the reproductive health care people trying to get pregnant need.”

“The need for access to reproductive healthcare continues to increase and should be a fundamental right for all Americans,” said Michael Thomas, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “Individuals of color as well as people who identify as LGBTQ+ face increased barriers to care. The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would ensure couples and individuals can, regardless of who and where they are, receive the reproductive medicine care they need. Congress must pass this important bill to protect this basic human right. We celebrate the introduction of this legislation and commend Senators Tammy Duckworth and Patty Murray, and Congresswoman Susan Wild for their leadership.”

This legislation is endorsed by: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Humanist Association; American Society for Reproductive Medicine; Center for Reproductive Rights; HealthyWomen; National Council of Jewish Women; National Partnership for Women and Families; Physicians for Reproductive Health and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

Duckworth was the first Senator to give birth while serving in office and in 2018 she advocated for the Senate to change its rules so she could bring her infant onto the Senate floor. Throughout her first term in the Senate, Duckworth has also made protecting and expanding access to essential reproductive healthcare a top priority. She joined her colleagues to applaud the Biden Administration’s landmark decision to allow the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to provide abortion care to Veterans and their eligible dependents to protect the health and life of the person and in cases of rape or incest.

In August, she helped introduce the Reproductive Healthcare Accessibility Act to help ensure people with disabilities—who face discrimination and extra barriers when seeking care—can access reproductive services and get the informed care they need to have control over their own reproductive lives. In July, she helped introduced the Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would codify the fundamental and constitutional right to contraception, just days after writing to President Biden and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging them to immediately declare national and public health emergencies over Americans’ access to reproductive care.

In May, she visited Hope Clinic in Granite City, IL, and met with Director Erin King and staff to share her support for ensuring Americans everywhere can access safe and necessary healthcare. Weeks later, she helped introduce a resolution opposing the criminalization of the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare, including abortion, gender-affirming care and contraceptive care. The resolution also disapproves of the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. Also in May, she voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would help protect the constitutional right to choose, which was ultimately blocked by Senate Republicans. In a speech on the Senate floor, she shared her support of Americans’ reproductive rights and urged her colleagues to pass the WHPA. Additionally, Duckworth is the lead sponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Healthcare (EACH) Act, which would end the Hyde Amendment and lift unjust abortion coverage restrictions for those who depend on Medicaid and other government-sponsored plans.