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Lawmakers push for federal protections of IVF

Sen. Tammy Duckworth speaking during a press conference Associated Press/Photo by Mark Schiefelbein

Lawmakers push for federal protections of IVF

Democratic senators aim to pass the Access to Family Building Act on Wednesday to federally protect in vitro fertilization. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Patty Murray held a press conference on Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, hoping to rally support for the measure. Duckworth called on senators to show they “truly care about the sanctity of families” by passing S.3612 in a unanimous vote.

What kind of protections does the Family Building Act give IVF? The bill aims to protect against states limiting IVF by establishing an individual’s right “to access assisted reproductive technology,” as well as all rights “regarding the use or disposition of reproductive genetic materials.” The measure also institutes the right of a healthcare provider to perform reproductive technology treatments. Insurance providers would also have a “statutory right” to cover assisted reproductive technology treatments.

Why do legislators feel IVF suddenly needs protecting? Several fertility clinics in Alabama temporarily paused IVF treatments last week after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be legally protected as children. The ruling allowed parents whose embryos were destroyed during a clinic break-in to sue for damages under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Clinics around the state have paused their programs out of liability concerns. State Rep. Anthony Daniels, a Democrat, introduced a bill hoping to mitigate liabilities and establish that fertilized embryos outside of the uterus are not considered children under the law.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report in Vitals on whether the Alabama ruling will end IVF in the state.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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