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IVF debate takes a weird political turn

Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

A Republican senator on Wednesday derailed a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth intended to protect access to in vitro fertilization care.

The Hoffman Estates Democrat, backed by colleagues, said it was crucial to pass the measure following the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision that frozen embryos should be considered children. […]

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Mississippi Republican, blocked the bill, saying it was a “poison pill” that could legalize cloning among other objections.

“I support the ability for mothers and fathers to have total access to IVF and bringing new life into the world. I also believe human life should be protected,” Hyde-Smith said.

* Sen. Hyde-Smith went on Tony Perkins’ show and the host said this

This is the first piece of legislation that explicitly waives the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, going back to the 1990s which Chuck Schumer was a supporter of back in the 90s.

But as you pointed out on the Senate floor, this legalizes something that we have been fighting for many years and that is human cloning, which is already prohibited in many states. This would wipe those prohibitions away and legalize human cloning. It allows gene editing, or the so called designer babies, it legalizes this Frankensteinian type of gene of creation of human-animal hybrids, these chimeras.


* To Sen. Duckworth’s bill

In this Act:


The term ‘‘assisted reproductive technology’’ has the meaning given such term in section 8 of the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. 263a–7(1)).

With links added by me, this is from section 8 of the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992

The term “assisted reproductive technology” means all treatments or procedures which include the handling of human oocytes or embryos, including in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, and such other specific technologies as the Secretary may include in this definition, after making public any proposed definition in such manner as to facilitate comment from any person (including any Federal or other public agency).

Maybe I’m wrong, but I ain’t seeing any cloning or human-animal hybrids there. I mean, the definition in Duckworth’s bill is based on a 1992 law, for crying out loud. You think Congress in 1992 was gonna legalizing cloning and human hybrids?

* Back to Sen. Duckworth’s bill

(1) INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.—An individual has a statutory right under this Act, including without prohibition or unreasonable limitation or interference (such as due to financial cost or detriment to the individual’s health, including mental health), to—

    (A) access assisted reproductive technology;

    (B) continue or complete an ongoing assisted reproductive technology treatment or procedure pursuant to a written plan or agreement with a health care provider; and

    (C) retain all rights regarding the use or disposition of reproductive genetic materials, including gametes, subject to subsection (c).

(2) HEALTH CARE PROVIDER RIGHTS.—A health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to—

    A) perform or assist with the performance of assisted reproductive technology treatments or procedures; and

    (B) provide or assist with the provision of evidence-based information related to assisted reproductive technology.

(3) INSURANCE PROVIDER RIGHTS.—A health insurance provider has a statutory right under this Act to cover assisted reproductive technology treatments or procedures.

Not seeing any monkey clones in there, either.

* However, the opponents are right about one thing. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 would be preempted by Duckworth’s bill

(1) GENERAL APPLICATION.—This Act supersedes and applies to the law of the Federal Government and each State government, and the implementation of such law, whether statutory, common law, or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the date of enactment of this Act, and neither the Federal Government nor any State government shall administer, implement, or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard, or other provision having the force and effect of law that conflicts with any provision of this Act, notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.).

* Isabel’s coverage roundup…

    * Politico. | A ‘Stunning’ Element of the Alabama IVF Ruling: Mary Ziegler, a leading historian on the abortion battle and a law professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law, says widespread adoption of fetal personhood laws would have far-reaching policy implications, including criminalizing people who receive abortions and banning certain kinds of contraception. Politically, she notes, it’s already straining the relationship between the anti-abortion movement and the Republicans who are eagerly trying to showcase their support for IVF.

    * AlterNet | Republicans kill bill to protect IVF after claiming they fully support it: Sen. Duckworth stamped out [Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith]’s claims, saying, “She said at one point the bill would allow for chimeras — human-animal hybrids — it does nothing of the sort. All the bill says if you want to seek reproductive technology you can …” Sen. Hyde-Smith then killed the bill by formally objecting to Duckworth’s bill on Wednesday, which the Illinois Democrat tried to pass via unanimous consent.

    * ABC Chicago | Republican blocks Senate Democrats’ push to pass IVF protections nationwide: Duckworth, in her own speech, had called Republicans out for “hypocrisy” as many of them defend access to IVF while simultaneously cheering the fall of Roe v. Wade’s guarantee to abortion access, which Democrats cite as a precedent paving the way for decisions like the Alabama ruling on embryos.

    * AP | Republicans block Senate bill to protect nationwide access to IVF treatments: Several clinics in the state announced they were pausing IVF services as they sort out last week’s ruling, which said that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. The court said that three Alabama couples who lost frozen embryos during an accident at a storage facility could sue the fertility clinic and hospital for the wrongful death of a minor child.

    * NYT | Senate Republican Blocks Bill to Protect I.V.F. Treatment: Some Republicans have said they would look at the bill, but most others argued that it should be up to state legislatures — not the federal government — to protect fertility treatments. They sought to cast the Alabama ruling as an outlier and said the Legislature there would surely act soon to protect I.V.F.

    * Sun-Times | Sen. Tammy Duckworth, whose daughters were born through IVF, pushes to safeguard access to IVF nationwide: Since the Alabama ruling, Duckworth has been sharing her personal story in several high-profile TV appearances and a news conference Tuesday in the Capitol of being an older woman and wounded Iraq war vet trying to get pregnant. Duckworth will be 56 in March, and her daughters, Abigail and Maile, were born in 2014 and 2018. She was the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. “My girls are my everything,” Duckworth said in her Senate floor speech. “But they likely would’ve never even been born if I hadn’t had access to the basic reproductive rights that Americans — up until recently — had been depending on for nearly a half a century. Because after a decade struggling with infertility after serving in Iraq, I was only able to get pregnant through the miracle of IVF.

    * All Things Considered | After Alabama’s ruling, this senator’s bill aims to protect national access to IVF: [Duckworth] spoke with All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro on Tuesday morning about her own experience with fertility treatments, her attempts to build bipartisan support for her bill, and why she thinks state Republican lawmakers in Alabama looking to pass legislation to protect IVF are just “covering their butts.”


  1. - Macon Bakin - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:46 pm:

    Perkins is a key figure in the Council for National Policy (CNP)

  2. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:06 pm:

    I’m surprised Cindy and Tony didn’t bring up bonding Adamantium to the human skeleton. Where will it end? /S

  3. - Roadrager - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:14 pm:

    Remember, these are the same people who will tell you that an ectopic pregnancy can be treated and eventually result in the cluster of offending cells becoming a child born full-term to a healthy mother.

    Ask them what the procedure is that does this, though, and you may hit a bit of a speed bump.

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:25 pm:

    I find it hard to believe the religiously motivated would ever say something isn’t true, in order to cover for their true intentions.

    Seriously. Why are we taking these objections at face value, when this so clearly is subterfuge to help enable and codify their core religious beliefs.

    The opposition is going to be weird(turtles) all the way down.

  5. - JoanP - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:42 pm:

    The Senate rule requiring unanimous consent to bring a bill to the floor for consideration is ridiculous.

  6. - Jerry - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:47 pm:

    Still trying to understand why xtians feel the need to force their lifestyle choice on others?

    Sen Duckworths proposed bill is good limited government, Conservative legislation. All Republicans who say they want the “gubbamint” out of their lives should be co-sponsoring it.

  7. - EyesHaveIt - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:51 pm:

    The problem is the phrase “and such other specific technologies as the Secretary may include in this definition.” Only certain technologies were envisioned in 1992–lots of advances in science/medicine since then.

  8. - Glengarry - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:57 pm:

    What’s wrong with living in a world influenced by the movie Gattaca? /S

  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:05 pm:

    “Still trying to understand why xtians feel the need”

    Because it’s literally a core tenant of their belief system.

    It’s the same thing which leads to the requirement of the faith to ‘help’ people, even if the help given to the other person is incredibly destructive to them - or even completely unwanted. That’s not important, or even relevant. The only important thing is satisfying the requirement of the faith to ‘help’.

    As I look back on my life - The most important part of being educated in a christian school, was learning what christians believe and how they behave behind closed doors. Sometimes I forget all this stuff will be a fun new surprise to people.

  10. - Waldi - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:20 pm:

    I have stopped trying to make sense of anything said by a Republican these days. Sad, really.

  11. - TJ - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:23 pm:

    It doesn’t matter if their opposition is based in reality, all that matters is that they have a talking point to justify their opposition.

    They’re getting justly railed for opposition to IVF, so they’re going to now claim it’s really because Dems are pushing for cloning, or if that doesn’t work eugenics, or if that doesn’t work genetic engineering, or if that doesn’t work Godzilla, or something, I don’t know.

  12. - Charles Edward Cheese - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:46 pm:

    “it legalizes this Frankensteinian type of gene of creation of human-animal hybrids, these chimeras.”
    This is ludicrous, a United States Senator entertained this type of dialogue, and just by appearing on the show gave it some air of credibility. This level of belief is just beyond the pale, what are we doing? How can this be where we are as a society?

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===United States Senator entertained this type of dialogue===

    She said it herself on the floor.

  14. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:16 pm:

    — creation of human-animal hybrids,—
    Sure, why not. What could possibly go wrong?

  15. - Jerry - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:34 pm:

    Well when the gays started getting married the same people were concerned about canine-human marriage.

    “Cuckoo” - Richard Daley

  16. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:38 pm:

    I so want to build the greatest band ever now.

    Frank and the Steins- Cloned Lars on drums, cloned Hendricks, cloned Entwistle on bass, cloned Ray Charles on keyboard I mean I’d have to sing lead but I’m sure with this new technology they could make my voice sound like an angel :)

  17. - Wadli - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 4:41 pm:

    Maybe human-animal clones wouldn’t be so bad. They would probably have more common sense than a good portion of the human population these days.

  18. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 4:48 pm:

    If this bill passes, you can expect fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria.

    Either that, or people will be able to get pregnant with the help of medical professionals.

  19. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 5:21 pm:

    “it legalizes this Frankensteinian type of gene of creation of human-animal hybrids, these chimeras”

    What makes them believe that it’s currently illegal?

    – MrJM

  20. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 7:31 pm:

    ===United States Senator entertained this type of dialogue===

    The U.S Senate ain’t what it used to be.

  21. - Proud Papa Bear - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 7:47 pm:

    Yesterday my co-worker announced she’s expecting and she said it was through IVF. After the cheering, I joked that I bet she’s glad she doesn’t live in Alabama. She laughed and said, “yeah, big time.”

  22. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 9:52 pm:

    ===The U.S Senate ain’t what it used to be.

    James Eastland and Strom Thurmond beg to differ.

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