In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a treatment that has allowed millions of people experiencing fertility issues a chance to become pregnant and have children. However — on the heels of overturning Roe v. Wade — some Republican legislators are working to “do something” about IVF.
Republican leaders like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and New Hampshire Senate nominee Don Bolduc are just a few of the voices of the anti-abortion movement fighting to “do something” about IVF, namely, end the practice of disposing of unused embryos.
Senate Democrats are looking to road block this initiative and be proactive before the fight to stop IVF becomes real. Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) introduced new legislation — the Right To Build Families Act of 2022 — which codifies protections for assisted reproductive technologies, including allowing patients to retain rights to their reproductive genetic material and protecting physicians who provide assisted fertility services.
According to The Huffington Post, the legislation also seeks to allow the Department of Justice to pursue civil action against any state that attempts to restrict access to IVF and other fertility services.
“IVF advocates in this country today are publicly telling us, ‘We need this kind of legislation to be able to protect this,’” Murray told HuffPost. “And here we are after the Dobbs decision where states are enacting laws and we have [anti-abortion] advocates who are now starting to talk, especially behind closed doors, about stopping the right for women and men to have IVF procedures done.”
The actions being taken by Democratic senators is not in vain. In October 2022, leaked audio was obtained by Atlanta Journal-Constitution and exposed a supporter of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp asking if the governor would be in favor of a “statewide ban on the destruction of embryos,” to which Kemp reportedly said, “We barely got the heartbeat bill passed, one vote.”
After being asked if he likes the idea, he said “Yeah,” after which a Kemp staffer said, “This man’s proven his pro-life credentials,” and tells the supporter, “Yeah, we’ll talk about that [proposal].”
“It is a disgusting practice,” New Hampshire Senate nominee Don Bolduc said of fertility clinics disposing of embryos in audio obtained by Vanity Fair. “I don’t like that practice at all, and I think it’s a separate issue, and we’ve got to do something about it.”
Tennessee lawmakers were also exposed discussing their plans to roll back access to IVF and contraception in recently leaked audio between the anti-choice politicians and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
“This is the part of the abortion debate that most Americans were unaware of until Roe v. Wade fell,” Duckworth told the Huffington Post.
The procedure of IVF is personal for Duckworth ho conceived her two daughters using IVF. When Duckworth struggled with fertility, she went to her doctor to seek answers. After her doctor told her she was too old and would never get pregnant, she got a second opinion and discovered she was a prime candidate for IVF.
“In my case, I had five fertilized eggs, and we discarded three because they were not viable. That is now potentially manslaughter in some of these states,” she said.
“I also have a fertilized egg that’s frozen,” Duckworth added. “My husband and I haven’t decided what we will do with it, but the head of the Texas Right to Life organization that wrote the bounty law for Texas has come out and specifically said he’s going after IVF next, and he wants control of the embryos.”
Read the entire bill here.