Economy

Dem-backed IVF bill slammed by GOP as broad fails key hurdle in Senate

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A Democrat-backed bill that would have expanded access to and provide a ‘nationwide right’ to in vitro fertilization (IVF) services failed to garner enough votes to get past a key test vote on Thursday. 

The Senate voted 48 to 47, falling short of the necessary 60 votes needed to move forward. The package’s failure came as no surprise, as Republicans were anticipated to block the legislation and said the bill was too broad as Democrats work to amplify abortion access and reproductive issues ahead of the 2024 election. 

Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine were the only two GOP lawmakers to vote in favor of the bill. 

The vote comes after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are legally people and ruled that those who destroy them are liable. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey subsequently signed legislation into law in March that protects medical professionals from civil and criminal immunity in case of unintentional death or damage to an embryo. 

‘Protecting IVF should be the easiest yes vote senators have taken all year. All this bill does is establish a nationwide right to IVF and eliminate barriers for millions of Americans who seek IVF,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor in support of the legislation Thursday. 

‘It’s personal to me. I have a beautiful one-year-old grandson because of the miracle of IVF. And so, in a perfect world, a bill like this would not be necessary. But after the fiasco of the Alabama Supreme Court decision and the generally MAGA views of some on the Supreme Court, Americans are genuinely worried that IVF is the next target of anti-choice extremists.’

Schumer notably changed his vote from yay to nay on Thursday, which will allow him to readdress the bill sooner in the future. 

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Cory Booker of New Jersey. It included measures such as a statutory right to access to reproductive services such as IVF and would have lowered costs for IVF treatments. 

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Katie Britt released a statement earlier Thursday reaffirming their support of IVF access across the nation, but they slammed the legislation as ‘scare tactics.’ 

‘Senate Democrats have embraced a Summer of Scare Tactics—a partisan campaign of false fearmongering intended to mislead and confuse the American people. In vitro fertilization is legal and available in every state across our nation. We strongly support continued nationwide access to IVF, which has allowed millions of aspiring parents to start and grow their families,’ they wrote. 

Britt and Cruz offered their own version of the legislation Wednesday, which would have barred states from Medicaid funding if they banned IVF treatments. Democrats blocked their efforts to pass the legislation through a unanimous consent request, arguing that the legislation failed to broadly protect access to IVF services. 

Pro-life groups, such as Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, slammed the bill in the lead-up to the vote for its broad language they said combined ‘four extreme bills that take an ‘anything goes’ approach to fertility treatment.’ 

‘This bill is a solution in search of a problem — fertility treatments are widely available and there are no serious efforts to curb thoughtful care for those experiencing infertility. This is a sweeping bill that protects the industry without protections for parents or their embryos. The bill would allow for genetic testing of embryos, selective reduction abortions and even treatments using human cloning. Instead of serious legislation that balances complex issues, this is a free-for-all for the fertility industry. This bill funnels more money into their billion-dollar business and forces taxpayers to foot the bill,’ Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. 

Fox News Digital’s Julia Johnson and Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report. 

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