HomeLearning CenterSenate Republicans Block IVF Protection Bill

Senate Republicans Block IVF Protection Bill

Originally published by Molly Bohannon for Forbes

The Senate voted to block a Democrat-backed bill Thursday afternoon that would have enshrined the right to IVF nationwide—as Democrats continue to try to highlight issues around reproductive rights ahead of the November election.

The Right to IVF Act failed to advance with 48 senators voting for it—including two Republicans—and 47 voting against it (the bill needed 60 votes to advance).

The Right to IVF Act was brought by three Democratic senators, and would create a statutory right to IVF services “without prohibition, limitation, interference or impediment,” while also requiring many insurance plans to cover IVF, according to a factsheet.

Democrats forced the vote one day after one of the Democratic bill’s sponsors, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., blocked a Republican-backed IVF Protection Act—which she said was a “PR tool, plain and simple.”

The Republican-sponsored bill, brought by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Katie Britt, R-Ala., required states to allow in vitro fertilization in order to get Medicaid funding, but didn’t compel organizations to provide IVF or prevent states from regulating IVF on their own.

In a joint statement, Senate Republicans criticized the Democratic-sponsored bill as part of a “partisan campaign of false fearmongering intended to mislead and confuse the American people,” saying that IVF is “legal and available in every state.”


82%. That’s how many Americans said IVF is morally acceptable in a Gallup poll released Thursday. Ten percent of respondents said IVF is morally wrong.


Thursday’s vote was the latest in Republicans and Democrats battling over abortion and reproductive rights, which are expected to be key points in the November election. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “Senate Democrats will put reproductive freedoms front and center before this chamber, so that the American people can see for themselves who will stand up to defend their fundamental liberties.” In April, support for legal abortion reached a record high, according to a Quinnipiac University poll in which 66% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Many elected Republicans have expressed support for keeping IVF legal, but Democrats warn some restrictions on abortion could also impact fertility treatments, and some groups have criticized IVF treatments, often on religious grounds. IVF restrictions made their way into the national spotlight earlier this year after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children, meaning if embryos are discarded or damaged—both of which can happen through the IVF process—clinics could potentially face wrongful death lawsuits by parents. Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey later signed a bill to protect providers of in-vitro fertilization from potential civil and criminal liability after the court ruling led some facilities in the state to stop offering IVF procedures.


Last week, Democrats brought a bill seeking to enshrine the right to contraception nationwide that was blocked by Republicans. A number of Republicans said there is no threat to contraception and alleged the bill was a messaging bill designed to prove a point on where people stand rather to enact legislation. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., accused Democrats of “fearmongering on this important issue to score cheap political points,” while Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill was “not a show vote, this is a ‘show us who you are’ vote.”


On Wednesday, Southern Baptists voted to oppose IVF at their annual convention. The resolution called on Southern Baptists “to reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being, including those in an embryonic stage.”

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