In Wake of Alabama Supreme Court Ruling, Spanberger Joins Bicameral Effort to Protect Access to IVF

Congresswoman: “This Ruling Sets a Dangerous Precedent”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today backed legislation to protect every American’s right to access in-vitro fertilization (IVF) following the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children under the law.

On February 16, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos — or “extrauterine children” — are covered under the state’s wrongful death of a minor law. Since the ruling, three of the seven total IVF clinics in Alabama — including the state’s largest hospital, University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital — have stopped providing treatment and halted IVF procedures.

The Spanberger-backed Access to Family Building Act would codify under federal law the right to access assisted reproductive technology (ART) services, including IVF. This legislation would pre-empt any state effort to limit such access and make sure no hopeful parents — or their doctors — are punished for trying to start or grow a family.

“As a mom to three young daughters and someone who has supported loved ones through the heartbreak of pregnancy loss, I’m devastated for the women whose struggles with infertility and dreams of experiencing the joys of motherhood are now even more difficult to overcome and realize,” said Spanberger. “Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, extreme politicians and judges have been working overtime to strip away the rights of a woman and her family to make their own reproductive healthcare and family planning decisions. More than six million women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant — and hundreds of thousands of hopeful women and couples turn to IVF and other treatments each year to have children. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent — and I will do all that I can to protect the ability of hopeful parents in Virginia and across our country to decide if, when, and how to start or grow their family.”

Specifically, the Access to Family Building Act would:

  • Establish a statutory right for an individual to access, without prohibition or unreasonable limitation or interference, assisted reproductive technology services, such as IVF, and for a healthcare provider to provide ART services;
  • Establish an individual’s statutory right regarding the use or disposition of their reproductive genetic materials, including gametes;
  • Allow the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue civil action against any state, government official, individual, or entity that violates protections in the legislation; and
  • Create a private right of action for individuals and healthcare providers in states that have limited access to ART.

The Access to Family Building Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA-07). Companion legislation is led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

Click here for bill text.


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