US Senate attempt to protect IVF access blocked by Mississippi Republican

Senate Democrats’ attempts to move forward a bill that would have granted Americans federal protections for in vitro fertilization access have failed.

The bill, sponsored by the Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth, came after a recent Alabama supreme court ruling that declared frozen embryos are children and led to the closure of multiple infertility clinics across the state.

On Tuesday, Duckworth, whose two children were conceived through IVF, said at a news conference: “I’m headed to the Senate floor to call on my colleagues to pass via unanimous consent my Access to Family Building Act, which would ensure that every American’s right to become a parent via treatments like IVF is fully protected, regardless of what state they live in – guaranteeing that no hopeful parent or doctor is punished.

“I warned that red states would come for IVF. Now they have. But they aren’t going to stop in Alabama. Mark my words: if we don’t act now, it will only get worse.”

The bill, which required unanimous Senate consent to pass, failed after the Republican Mississippi senator Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked it on Wednesday.

Addressing the Senate, Hyde-Smith said: “I support the ability for mothers and fathers to have total access to IVF and bringing new life into the world. I also believe human life should be protected. These are not mutually exclusive.”

She added: “The bill before us today is a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that goes way too far, far beyond ensuring legal access to IVF.”

Before the vote, Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said the bill was unlikely to receive unanimous consent from the chamber to rush it through.

Blumenthal said Democrats would not be deterred. He would not say what the next legislative steps would be, but he said Democrats, who control the Senate, would look for other ways to protect IVF and reproductive healthcare.

“The IVF dilemma for Republicans is they are down a path that is not only unpopular, it’s untenable as a matter of constitutional law and basic moral imperative. And we’re going to pursue it vigorously,” Blumenthal said.

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