Republicans gear up to challenge Democrats on IVF before Senate vote

Senate Republicans are strategizing to counter Democrats’ efforts aimed at safeguarding access to in vitro fertilization (IVF). This comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer prepares to ‍introduce ‌a bill that⁢ seeks to codify the right ‌to ​IVF at a federal level. While Schumer sees the⁤ upcoming vote as straightforward given the treatment’s⁣ aim to ⁤help families, Republicans, motivated by their stance on issues following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, are set to offer alternative ⁢legislation. These measures, spearheaded by notable senators like Ted Cruz and Katie Britt, are⁣ designed to necessitate a countermove⁣ from Democrats, ⁤potentially leading to a dismissal. ⁤This tactical move by ​Republicans‍ mirrors their responses to other reproductive health legislation, emphasizing‌ their critique of what they term as Democratic “show votes” on divisive topics. The⁤ political maneuvering signals persistent ‍tensions and‍ differing strategies between the two‍ parties as they ‌tackle reproductive rights and ‍other contentious issues leading up to⁣ the elections.

Senate Republicans are weighing how to take the wind out of Democrats’ sails later this week when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) puts to a vote a package of bills to protect access to in vitro fertilization.

The legislation, which would enshrine a right to IVF into federal law, is expected to receive a vote on Thursday but faces a similar defeat as last week’s contraception bill, with Republicans lining up behind their own measures following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The landmark ruling returned the question of abortion restrictions to the states, but Democrats have since argued the ruling has implications for reproductive rights more broadly and believe the issue can be used to pressure Republicans in an election year.

“Protecting IVF should be one of the easiest votes the Senate has taken all year,” Schumer said in a Tuesday afternoon floor speech. “The vast majority of senators should agree that strengthening treatments that help people start a family is a good thing.”

Just as they did with the fight over contraception, Senate Republicans will counterprogram the vote by putting forward their own legislation on IVF.

One such bill, led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt (R-AL), will be brought up for what is known as a unanimous consent request, according to a source familiar with the matter. The move will force Democrats to shoot it down.

The GOP strategy comes as Schumer ramps up what Republicans have dismissed as “show votes” on hot-button issues such as immigration and reproductive health.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a leadership adviser who’s running to be Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) successor as Senate GOP leader, condemned “another partisan show vote” from Democrats on “another made-up controversy.”

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL), from left, joined by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“There are countless bipartisan bills that deserve a vote by the Senate, but [Schumer] is simply disinterested,” Cornyn said.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who’s also seeking to replace McConnell, has stepped up his IVF advocacy since entering the race. He has a nonbinding pro-IVF resolution that he could try to pass on the floor as well. Last week, he launched a seven-figure ad campaign vowing to protect access.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ IVF bill, the Right to IVF Act, is led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). It includes four separate measures and comes amid the second anniversary of the overturning of Roe, as well as in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court earlier this year ruling frozen embryos should be considered children. The decision forced state lawmakers to pass temporary legal protections for IVF providers.

In addition to protecting IVF, the Democratic bill would shield providers from legal liability, safeguard access for service members and veterans, and require more health insurance providers to help pick up the tab for the procedure, which can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.

The legislation from Britt and Cruz, the IVF Protection Act, is far more narrowly tailored over religious liberty concerns. It would strip states of Medicaid funding if they prohibit IVF, a move that ultimately gives states broad discretion and does not bar them from passing restrictions on the fertility procedure.


“Just like with nationwide access to contraception, I want to make it clear that Republicans support continued nationwide access to IVF,” Britt said in a recent floor speech. “I look forward to discussing this more next week, as unfortunately, my Democratic colleagues will continue their ‘Summer of Scare Tactics.’”

Schumer rejected the accusation that Democrats are staging show votes in his Tuesday speech. “In no way, shape, or form is protecting IVF a show vote — it’s a show-us-who-you-are vote,” he said, pointing to a 2022 bill protecting same-sex marriage rights.

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One Comment

  1. What is this nonsense? A right to get pregnant so you can abort the baby? We have some really sick people in this country.

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