Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA-07), introduced legislation to protect every American's right to access in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) as Republicans' extreme abortion bans in states across the country jeopardize access to technology that millions of Americans--including Senator Duckworth, who relied on IVF to have her two daughters--count on to build a family. The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would prohibit limiting access to IVF and other ART for any American--regardless of their zip code.
In overturning Roe and enacting extreme abortion bans in states across the country, Republicans have not only ripped away a woman's right to abortion, they have also jeopardized patients' ability to get treatment for cancer, lupus, and more--and to access IVF and other ART in order to build a family. The new patchwork of state abortion bans has created significant confusion among patients and providers alike about whether doctors can provide services like ART in states with the most restrictive laws, which has led IVF centers to call for new protections. In a number of states, Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would restrict access to ART, and in a leaked audio recording, a leading anti-abortion group advised state lawmakers to avoid discussing regulating IVF and contraception at this time but noted that restrictions could be revisited in a few years.
"Republicans' extreme abortion bans are forcing women to stay pregnant against their will and are, at the very same time, threatening Americans' ability to build a family through services like IVF. It's hard to comprehend, and it's just plain wrong," said Senator Murray. "Every American should be able to build a family with help from assisted reproductive technology, and our bill will ensure that they can--in every part of our country. This is a truly commonsense bill, and I hope my colleagues will join us to protect Americans' right to build a family on their own terms."
"With Roe v. Wade thrown out by the Supreme Court and some states across the country looking to limit our most basic rights, millions of Americans are understandably worried about their access to healthcare, including access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies that they need to start or grow their families," said Senator Duckworth. "I'm proud to introduce the Right to Build Families Act with Senator Murray and Congresswoman Wild because every American deserves the right to choose how they build their own family--no matter where they live."
The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would:
Prohibit limiting any individual from accessing ART or retaining their reproductive genetic materials, including gametes;
Protect health care providers who provide ART or related counseling and information;
Allow the Department of Justice to pursue civil action against states that violate the legislation; and
Create a private right of action for individuals and health care providers in states that have limited access to ART.
Along with Senators Duckworth and Murray, the legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Along with Congresswoman Wild, the legislation was co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03).
"In this post-Roe era, we expect states to imminently introduce legislation that would restrict access to in vitro fertilization -- a devastating development for those looking to build their families," said Barbara Collura, President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. "The Right to Build Families Act is life-changing for those who are trying to fulfill their dream of having a baby but are concerned that IVF will no longer be legal in their state. We are incredibly grateful for the steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment of Senator Duckworth, Senator Murray, and Congresswoman Wild to protect IVF and the reproductive health care people trying to get pregnant need."
"The need for access to reproductive healthcare continues to increase and should be a fundamental right for all Americans," said Michael Thomas, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. "Individuals of color as well as people who identify as LGBTQ+ face increased barriers to care. The Right to Build Families Act of 2022 would ensure couples and individuals can, regardless of who and where they are, receive the reproductive medicine care they need. Congress must pass this important bill to protect this basic human right. We celebrate the introduction of this legislation and commend Senators Tammy Duckworth and Patty Murray, and Congresswoman Susan Wild for their leadership."
This legislation is endorsed by: the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Humanist Association; American Society for Reproductive Medicine; Center for Reproductive Rights; HealthyWomen; National Council of Jewish Women; National Partnership for Women and Families; Physicians for Reproductive Health; and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Senator Murray has led the fight in Congress to fight back and protect Americans' fundamental rights, and she has warned that the effects of the decision will extend well beyond women's right to get abortion care. At a hearing she chaired right in the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision, Senator Murray warned of the chaos, confusion, and harm the decision and Republicans' extreme policies would cause--including by jeopardizing Americans' access to IVF. In the months since Dobbs, Senator Murray has introduced and fought to pass commonsense legislation to protect the right to contraception, protect every American's right to travel, protect doctors' right to provide legal abortion care, expand our national family planning program, and now, to protect the right to build a family through assisted reproductive technology.
A one-pager on the legislation is available HERE.
Read full text of the bill HERE.