Senate Republicans Keep IVF Protections From a Vote

GOP argues the Democratic bill isn't needed and back a more limited one
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2024 3:18 PM CDT
IVF Protections Stall in Senate Vote
Sen. Susan Collins, right, appears with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, left, during a news conference at the Capitol in 2018.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A Democratic attempt to codify protections for in vitro fertilization hit a Republican wall in the Senate on Thursday, with GOP opponents calling the measure unnecessary. "Why should we vote for a bill that fixes a nonexistent problem? There's not a problem," Sen. John Cornyn told reporters, per CNN. "There's no restrictions on IVF, nor should there be." The bill needed 60 votes to proceed; the count was 48-47. Only two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, voted in favor. The caucus has supported a bill with more limited protections.

Instead, the entire GOP caucus signed onto a letter attesting its support for access to IVF. Sen. Patty Murray, who cosponsored the Democratic bill, was unimpressed. "Their bill has huge loopholes that would let states restrict IVF in all different kinds of ways," Murray said, per NBC News. "It purposefully ignores what happens to unused embryos, and it would do nothing to stop fetal personhood laws from totally upending IVF care."

The issue has heated up since the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in February that led to clinics in the state suspending IVF services. On Wednesday, Southern Baptists voted in their annual convention to oppose IVF. Democrats are trying to put Republicans on the record on the issue; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did that last week with a bill to establish access to contraception as a right. In the House, Democrats are readying a maneuver to force a floor vote on protections, per Axios. Some Republicans say they should vote yes on such bills, then propose amendments to pressure Democrats. (More in vitro fertilization stories.)

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