Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Democrats to force vote for protections for IVF as election-year messaging heats up

By 37ci3 Jun13,2024


WASHINGTON — After last week’s failed vote to provide nationwide access to contraception, Democrats are expected to vote Thursday to approve protections for in vitro fertilization, a fertility procedure that has helped millions of families have children. treatment of military personnel and veterans.

IVF Right Act It’s a “comprehensive” package aimed at protecting IVF, according to the Democratic trio behind the bill: Sens. Cory Booker, DN.J.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. It includes four bills aimed at protecting access to IVF by prohibiting states from placing restrictions on the treatment and making it more affordable.

But while most Republicans say they support access to IVF, they are expected to block the legislation on a procedural vote, calling the bill unnecessary and politically motivated. Instead, Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala. and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tried to pass their own, narrower IVF bill Wednesday night, but Murray objected, blocking the vote after Democrats called the legislation “dangerous” and “dangerous.” step back.”

The GOP bill, the IVF Protection Act, would cut off essential Medicaid funding to any state that bans access to IVF, but it does not address the potential legal consequences of discarding non-viable embryos. That’s a major issue, according to Democrats, and a key question for providers and doctors, especially after the Alabama Supreme Court earlier this year questioned whether frozen embryos created during fertility treatments should count as children.

After Democrats blocked the GOP bill, every Republican senator signed a statement led by Britt, which accused Democrats of engaging in a “false campaign of fear designed to confuse and confuse the American people.”

“In vitro fertilization is legal and available to every state in our country,” they said in a statement first released to NBC News. “We strongly support continued nationwide access to IVF, which enables millions of parents-to-be to start and grow their families.”

Duckworth, who used IVF to give birth to her two children, said in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Tuesday that conservatives who “believe a fertilized egg is a person” could jeopardize access to the procedure.

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.  and Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Sens. Cory Booker, DN.J.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash., spoke to NBC News Tuesday about a bill to codify federal protections for IVF.Frank Thorp V / NBC News

“As in my case, we created five fertilized eggs; three were viable. If you were to implant one of these non-viable eggs, it would cause a miscarriage. We dropped those three,” he said, noting that it could be considered manslaughter or murder under laws and rulings like the Alabama Supreme Court.

Alabama Legislature he moved quickly In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to restart IVF treatments statewide in March and protect providers from criminal and civil immunity. But the legislation signed by Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey a condition of when life begins.

In addition to Alabama’s legislation on the issue, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant body in the United States, took part in the vote on Wednesday. Against IVF and encourage the government to limit the practice.

“You as a human being cannot support the identity of a fetus or a fertilized egg and you also cannot support IVF,” Duckworth said. “And that’s the critical part that our Republican colleagues are trying to hide from the American people.”

The Democrats’ legislation would shield providers from legal liability for discarded embryos and require more health insurers to cover fertility care. Also included is the Veteran Families Health Services Act, which expands access to IVF and other fertility treatments for veterans and allows service members to freeze their eggs before implantation. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs have covered fertility treatments for years, but strict eligibility rules have limited coverage for military personnel and veterans. The bill would increase the number of eligible individuals.

For Duckworth, legislating protections is personal, and expanding access to military and veterans is terrible. After being deployed to Iraq in 2004, where he served as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, the wounded Army veteran spent ten years trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant before succeeding with IVF.

Infinity is little studied in the military, but a 2018 survey37% activist and veteran women said they struggle with infertilitythis indicator is three times higher than the national average.

“A lot of families go through the pain of trying to conceive and not being able to conceive and trying to figure out what’s going on,” she said. “With IVF I was finally able to hold my baby and have my children and they are the joys of my life.”

Duckworth’s IVF journey ended with the Supreme Court’s 2022 Roe v. It went from overturning Wade and ending 50 years of abortion rights. Since then, conservative-led states have sought to reduce other reproductive health protections, including fertility treatments used to prevent pregnancy, contraceptives and emergency contraceptives.

This is a significant concern for military spouse Julie Eshelman, who had her first and only child using IVF. Military families are often relocated to different states at the direction of the military, with limited access to the families themselves.

At one point earlier this year, Eshelman’s family was asked to move to Alabama at a time when the state Supreme Court was restricting IVF. That didn’t happen, but because they move so often — every 11 to 24 months — Eshelman worries that her reproductive health could be affected by abortion or IVF restrictions in the red.

“When we moved from Washington to Arizona and from Arizona to Illinois, we didn’t have to worry about whether we would be able to access care if I had IVF or another miscarriage, because I’ve had four of them,” Eshelman told NBC News before a press conference with Democratic senators and IVF advocates on Wednesday. said in an interview.

Although both parties claim to support protecting access to IVF, lawmakers have been divided over protecting the procedure, and a bipartisan compromise appears unlikely in the closely divided Senate.

Without federal action, Eshelman said her family would have to consider whether her husband of 14 years could continue to serve if sent to a state where access to IVF is restricted.

“My husband is very committed to his service,” Eshleman said, “but I think if we ever get into a situation where we decide to continue to have a family and we’re going to be deployed somewhere we can’t. , that might be our conversation.”



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