Republicans block in the Senate a Democratic project to protect in vitro fertilization at the federal level

Republican senators this Thursday blocked a bill led by Democrats to protect the right to fertilization at the federal level in vitroin the midst of a growing partisan clash over reproductive rights in the United States and months before an election that may revolve around this issue.

The vote was resolved by 48 votes against and 47 in favor (Democrats plus two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins). Conservatives argued that the Democratic bill went too far, and instead pushed a more limited version that progressives for their part consider insufficient.

The vote was promoted by the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, to demonstrate the position of the Republicans less than five months before the elections. Following the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that eliminated the federal right to abortion, progressives believe that access to reproduction in vitro Contraceptives are now also in danger.

The bill, presented by Democrats Patty Murray, Tammy Duckworth and Cory Booker, seeks to establish a federal right for people to access assisted reproductive services (IVF), with the aim of guaranteeing that medical providers offer this procedure and for insurers to pay for it, without states being able to approve legal obstacles.

At the center of the debate is the opinion of many conservatives that life begins at the moment of conception, which can lead to thinking that embryos discarded (something common) in the IVF process are treated as if it were a homicide. Many Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, have supported a bill that would give a fertilized egg the same rights as a person.

Before the Senate vote, Republicans expressed support for IVF, despite speaking out against the bill, and attempted to promote another, more limited rule that would cut Medicaid funding for states if they banned IVF.

Republican senators signed a statement accusing Democrats of waging “a partisan false alarm campaign intended to deceive and confuse Americans.”

“We strongly support continued access to IVF across the country, which has enabled millions of aspiring parents to start and grow their families,” the senators said in their statement.

Murray, for his part, said the GOP's rhetoric is hollow: “Actions speak louder than words, and the (voting) record here tells a very different story.”

“They've introduced their own legislation to purport to address the very problem they say doesn't exist, but their bill has huge loopholes that would allow states to restrict IVF in different ways,” he told reporters. “I think it's pretty clear where the votes are in the current Senate,” she explained, “and the next election will make the difference.”