Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi on Wednesday blocked passage of a bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) after Democrats tried to force a vote on the issue to put Republicans on the spot.
The move came after the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this month that frozen embryos are children sparked massive bipartisan outrage.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., called on the Senate to set aside procedure and immediately pass the Family Building Access Act by unanimous consent on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon.
Duckworth has warned that it is only a matter of time before other states could end up in a situation similar to Alabama, where some fertility clinics suspended IVF after the court decision that put thousands of families trying to have children in limbo. through IVF.
But Republican Sen. Hyde-Smith called the bill a “gross overreach that is full of poison pills that go too far” and moved to block consideration of the bill.
He said the legislation would overturn the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would subject religious and pro-life organizations to “crippling lawsuits.”
Senator Hyde-Smith on Wednesday blocked a Senate vote on a bill to protect access to IVF, calling it a “gross overreach.”
Senate Democrats are calling for passage of a bill to protect access to fertility treatments called the Family Building Access Act after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos are babies.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., announced she would seek unanimous consent on her bill to protect access to IVF and other fertility treatments on the Senate floor. Ella Duckworth said she wouldn’t have been able to be a mother if it weren’t for that treatment.
Duckworth lashed out at Republicans on Wednesday, posting on the whole country”.
Last month, Duckworth, along with Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., introduced legislation that would protect a person’s right to access fertility services like IVF and health care providers that provide these services.
The bill would also have protected a person’s rights regarding the use or disposal of their reproductive genetic material and would allow the Department of Justice to take civil action against any state or government official who violates those protections.
Duckworth has noted that the issue is very personal to her.
The senator and mother of two daughters is the first sitting senator to have a baby while in office. She noted that she was only able to become a mother through IVF after her military service in Iraq.
Duckwoth criticized the ruling, saying that people who claim to be “defending family values” are actively trying to enact policies that prevent Americans from creating such families.
Senate Democrats’ push to protect IVF is the latest effort at a time when families, health care providers and officials have been struggling in the wake of Alabama’s shocking ruling that raises concerns that clinics could be considered responsible for destroying fertilized eggs.
Some fertility clinics in Alabama have already suspended treatments for fear of prosecution, as the ruling opened the door to wrongful death lawsuits in all cases where embryos do not survive thawing and transfer to the uterus.
Embryo selection for IVF shown under optical micrograph: Treatment overwhelmingly popular among Americans
Prominent states have written laws that stipulate that life begins at the moment of fertilization. In Louisiana, the intentional removal or destruction of a human embryo is illegal
President Biden called the ruling “outrageous and unacceptable” in a statement.
Democrats criticized the decision as a direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Make no mistake: This ruling is a direct result of Donald Trump’s promise to overturn Roe v. Wade, and I have been warning that IVF would be next for years,” Duckworth said Tuesday.
She held Senate Republicans accountable, saying that if they “really care about the sanctity of families, then they should show it by not blocking this bill.”
Republicans have been fighting to reject the Alabama ruling.
Former President Donald Trump said he would “strongly support the availability of IVF” and called on Alabama to find an immediate solution.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said she views the frozen embryos as babies, but later attempted to clarify that she did not agree with the Alabama ruling.
Former President Trump called on Alabama to find a solution following the ruling and said he supports the availability of IVF treatment. Democrats say the American League ruling is a direct result of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade with the addition of three justices he appointed.
Haley, who has spoken generally about her personal struggles with fertility, said she used artificial insemination to have her son Nalin, the second of her two children. She said that she considers embryos as babies, but later clarified that she does not agree with the Alabama ruling.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee also told DailyMail.com that none of its candidates support banning IVF.
Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, said in a statement after the court ruling that he supports IVF treatment.
But he, along with 124 other House Republicans, backed the Life Begins at Conception bill last year. He does not include an exclusion for IVF treatment, although he does state that nothing in the bill should “be construed as authorizing the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.”