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Did Republican Senators Block IVF Bill -- NO

Did Republican Senators Block IVF Bill — NO

In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a hospital was liable under the state’s 1872 statute, the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, for the destruction of fertilized eggs through IVF (in vitro fertilization) to help infertile couples have babies. Making hospitals legally liable meant that hospitals would either have to end IVF services or increase the price of an already expensive procedure, making it unaffordable for almost all Alabamians. Alabama hospitals decided to pause the service, and Democrats and their friends in the press had a field day that pro-life Republicans were coming after IVF.

IVF is very popular. Eight million Americans owe their lives to this procedure, and about 2 percent of births in the United States were conceived through IVF. Republicans constantly warn of the decline in fertility rates and consistently assert themselves as the pro-baby party. How could they be against IVF?

The answer: They aren’t.

There were several courses of action to take against the Alabama Supreme Court. One option was to go to a federal court. The other two options were to rely on the anti-family, anti-baby, and anti-IVF Republican lawmakers in Alabama or in D.C. to pass a law protecting IVF.

It took only nine days for the Alabama legislature to pass a bill protecting IVF before pro-IVF activists had a chance to figure out the legal procedure for taking it to federal court. Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law a week later. Republicans introduced the pro-IVF bill in both the Alabama House and Senate, where it passed overwhelmingly due to Republican dominance. Alabama hospitals have since resumed the service.

As mentioned, there was another course of action: going through the U.S. Congress. Even though the Alabama legislature nullified the state court’s decision, making it unnecessary in Alabama to rely on Washington’s protection, Republicans in D.C. were not done.

Senators Ted Cruz from Texas and Katie Britt from Alabama introduced a bill to protect IVF nationwide. “IVF is profoundly pro-family. Some 2% of live births in the U.S. result from IVF, representing tens of thousands of families fulfilling dreams of parenthood,” the two Republicans wrote in the Wall Street Journal. They continued, “Misconceptions and fear-mongering around the legal standing of IVF do a disservice to families facing infertility. Our bill will honor and support families seeking to welcome a new baby into their lives through IVF. We invite our colleagues in the Senate—on both sides of the aisle—to support this legislation.”

The Democrats blocked the bill. Senator Patty Murray, the most senior Democratic senator, said that the bill does “absolutely nothing.” She was lying. The bill would block Medicaid funding to states that ban IVF. But if the bill didn’t do enough, then why not allow it to go through the committee process and improve it by proposing amendments, which would surely pass since Democrats are in the majority?

Democrats instead put their own bill up for a vote the day after. It was a Democratic wish list with IVF as its cover. The bill was vaguely written to federalize access to abortion. It also mandated that healthcare insurers cover IVF and other fertility treatment costs. So Republicans voted against it.

So, why not criticize Republicans in the same way, for not working through the committee process to fix it?

The majority leader, Chuck Schumer, did not send the bill through the committee process, which would have allowed Republicans to propose amendments and negotiate fixes. Instead, he sent it straight to the floor, where the only options were to vote yes or no. Republicans chose to vote no.

After the Democrats blocked Cruz and Britt’s bill, everyone in the mainstream media reported that Democrats blocked the GOP IVF bill to pass their own. After Republicans voted against the Democrats’ bill a day later, the headlines were Republicans blocked the IVF bill. Unlike the previous headline, they skipped the context to imply that Republicans are just against IVF.

The New York Times reported that Republicans voted against the bill with no reference to the pro-IVF GOP bill that the Democrats had just blocked a day before. Instead, the report quoted Joe Biden, “This is the second time since the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that congressional Republicans have refused to safeguard this fundamental right for women in every state.” Even though Republicans had tried to pass a pro-IVF bill one day earlier.

The fact is that Republicans have done their best to protect IVF treatments for families. The story Americans are being sold is that Republicans are extremists who want to end IVF treatments. Lies become believable when you have the multibillion-dollar news media industry with expertise in deceiving their audience. And the most recent lie that Americans are being fed is that Republicans are against IVF.

What Democrats can count on is a willful, biased media doing their spinning and talking points. This is another case in point.

Note: the opinions expressed herein are those of Chuck Warren only and not his co-host Sam Stone or Breaking Battlegrounds’ staff.

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