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Republican blocks Senate bill adding federal protections to IVF

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, had called on the Senate to pass the Access to Family Building Act by unanimous consent.
Republican blocks Senate bill adding federal protections to IVF
Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 18:05:12-05

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith blocked a bill on Wednesday that would have established a federal right to access in vitro fertilization and other "assisted reproductive technology."

"The bill brought before us today is a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far," Hyde Smith said. The senator from Mississippi claimed the bill could open the door to things like human cloning and "gene-edited designer babies."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, had called on the Senate to pass the Access to Family Building Act by unanimous consent. Only one objection was needed to block the bill.

In response to Hyde Smith's objection, Duckworth said she disagreed with her interpretation of the bill, noting that it simply protects people going through IVF from fear of being prosecuted. 

SEE MORE: Alabama court ruling raises new concerns for IVF patients across US

Duckworth introduced the bill in response to the Alabama Supreme Court decision which stated that embryos should be considered children in the state. That decision has forced some IVF clinics in Alabama to halt the process out of fear they or their patients could be held liable if an embryo doesn't result in an actual baby. 

“Since the Alabama Supreme Court handed down this ruling that is based in extreme ideology rather than medical science, countless people in Alabama have had their lives thrown into chaos as they’ve been forced to figure out whether they could be criminalized for a treatment that helps create life,” Duckworth previously said. 

The senator noted that this bill is personal for her. Duckworth has been public about her struggle with infertility and becoming pregnant after going through IVF. 

SEE MORE: More Alabama IVF providers pause treatment after court ruling


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