Senate Democrats block GOP’s competing IVF bill

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a GOP effort to pass a bill to provide protections for individuals seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) access ahead of a planned vote on a Democratic-led proposal Thursday.

The GOP bill, led by Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would ban states from getting access to Medicaid funding if they bar IVF services. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) blocked the unanimous request, arguing that the GOP bill does not nearly go far enough to protect IVF access.

“I am not going to mince words. It is ridiculous to claim that this bill protects IVF when it does nothing of the sort,” she said. “In fact, it explicitly allows states to restrict IVF in all sorts of ways.”

“This Republican bill really is a PR tool, plain and simple,” she said. “It’s just another way for Republicans to pretend they’re not the extremists that they keep proving they are.”

The request came a day ahead of the vote on the Democratic bill, authored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). Republicans have widely panned the vote on the bill as a “show” vote, which follows similar votes on contraception and the border in recent weeks.

“Understand why the Democrats just did what they did,” Cruz said. “Every Democrat on the ballot is going to tell the voters, ‘If you don’t vote for me, a Democrat, mean Republicans are going to come take away IVF.’ … This is all about running TV ads claiming Republicans are opposed to IVF.

Britt piled on in her remarks.

“Sadly, they aren’t interested in a bill to actually protect IVF access and figuring out how we could get that to become law. That wouldn’t advance their true goal, which is about partisan electoral politics,” she said. “If Democrats allowed the IVF Protection Act to pass today, they would lose a key scare tactic they believe helps them in November.”

“And that is ultimately what this is all about,” she added.

Very few Senate Republicans are expected to vote for the Democrats’ IVF bill next week, just like last week on the contraception bill.

Among the items included in the Democratic proposal are a blockade on states from imposing IVF restrictions and provisions that would expand insurance coverage for members of the military and veterans.

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