The reversal of Roe v. Wade jeopardized access to assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. Senator Tammy Duckworth explains to Parents how and why the Right to Create Families Act is personal to her and many others.
When the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, millions of people of reproductive age found their abortion rights in jeopardy. It made it possible that reproductive help, especially in-vitro fertilization, could be limited (IVF).
IVF involves the collection of several eggs, testing for genetic problems, fertilizing, and storing only viable embryos. The remainder is discarded. The only state with legal restrictions on IVF has been Louisiana, which prohibits the disposal of embryos because it considers them to be human beings. South Carolina and Alabama exempt in vitro fertilization from their restrictive abortion laws.
According to CDC data, a group of congressmen intends to ensure that every American has access to the technique responsible for approximately 84,000 live births in 2019. In December of 2022, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA), and Congressman Susan Wild (D-PA-07) introduced the Right to Create Families Act. It would safeguard every American’s access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) if enacted.
“With the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many women and families are naturally concerned about their access to healthcare and capacity to plan their own families. The anti-choice community is currently plotting to push for new, more radical laws, such as so-called “personhood bills,” that would go even further in controlling [people’s] bodies. These attempts could effectively prohibit fertility treatments such as IVF, which many Americans require to create or expand their families,” Senator Duckworth says.
For Duckworth, the bill has personal significance. “Without the miracle of IVF, I wouldn’t have my two beautiful daughters, and there are so many other families in every corner of our country who might never have been able to start a family without the availability of assisted reproductive technology (ART).”
Infertility does not discriminate, and a person’s decision to start a family should be made between them and their doctor, not by conservative politicians. If the far right truly cared about fostering life, they would not attempt to prevent women like me from having children. It’s that easy.
According to the CDC, 26% of heterosexual women have difficulty becoming pregnant or terminating a pregnancy. IVF allows them to have biological children. This statistic excludes the LGBTQIA+ group, which also uses IVF but is frequently underreported.
An estimated 18 million Americans identify as LGBTQIA+, with 25 percent of Millennials (9.1) and Gen Z (15.9) identifying as queer and many considering starting a family, according to a Gallup study conducted in 2021.
This would be included in the Right to Build Families Act of 2022:
- A prohibition on restricting access to ART or a person’s right to retain reproductive genetic materials such as gametes (sex cells, eggs, and sperm).
- Protections for healthcare professionals that offer patients access to ART, counseling, and information.
- Establishing a private right of action for residents and healthcare professionals in states that have restricted access to ART.
- Authorization for the Department of Justice to bring civil litigation against violating states.
Sen. Murray stated in a press release, “This is a truly reasonable law, and I hope my colleagues will join us in protecting the ability of Americans to grow a family on their own terms.”
Rep. Wild agreed that the bill would guarantee “that all Americans have access to the reproductive technologies they need to create the family of their dreams and that health care practitioners are secure in their competence to deliver such care.”
Supporting Organizations for the Right to Build Families Act
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- American Humanist Association
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- The National Infertility Association
- National Council of Jewish Women