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Mark Warner, Tim Kaine stand up to attacks on reproductive freedom

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The Right to IVF Act would protect and expand access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services nationwide. The Senate is expected to vote on the Right to IVF Act soon.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia joined Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington and Cory Booker of New Jersey in introducing the legislation. Kaine is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

“For decades, millions of women have used IVF to start or grow their families and make their dreams come true,” Warner said. “It’s clear that lawmakers and judges across the country won’t stop at banning abortion — we’re witnessing a broad-scale attack on reproductive freedom that includes access to assisted reproductive technology and contraception, too. I’m glad to be standing up to these attacks by introducing the Right to IVF Act and other comprehensive measures to protect reproductive care, and I won’t stop fighting for families to have the freedom to access basic health care.”

According to Kaine, Elizabeth Carr, the first person born via IVF in the U.S. in Norfolk, said she felt like “an endangered species” after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that restricted IVF access.

“I invited her to the State of the Union this year to shine a light on this issue because no one should be made to feel that way. We must take steps to protect Americans’ freedom to decide whether, when, and how to start or build their families amid state restrictions on reproductive health care. I’m proud to be introducing this comprehensive bill to protect and expand access to IVF and ART services. I hope my colleagues will pass it when it comes to the Senate floor next week,” Kaine said. 

The Right to IVF Act includes provisions from four bills: 

  • The Access to Family Building Act, which Warner and Kaine cosponsored to
    • Establish a statutory right for individuals to access, providers to provide, and insurers to cover IVF and ART services.
    • Authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce these statutory rights.
    • Authorize a private right of action to allow adversely affected parties to sue.
  • TheVeteran Families Health Services Act of 2023which Kaine cosponsored to
    • Permanently authorize and enhance fertility treatment and counseling options for veterans and servicemembers, expand family-building assistance, improve eligibility rules, and strengthen research on servicemember and veteran long-term reproductive health.
    • Expand servicemembers’ access to fertility services before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment and after an injury or illness.
  • The Access to Fertility Treatment and Care Actto
    • Increase affordability of fertility care, including IVF, by requiring employer-sponsored insurance plans and other public insurance plans, cover fertility treatments.
    • Standardize baseline of high-quality fertility treatment coverage under private health insurance plans and protect Americans against excessive out-of-pocket costs.
  • The Family Friendly FEHB Fairness Act to
    • Promote the standardization and widespread availability of affordable fertility treatment coverage under employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
    • Require insurance carriers that participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program to cover ART, including IVF treatments.

Warner and Kaine are strong advocates for reproductive freedom in Congress. Following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that led to restricted access of IVF, Warner and Kaine cosponsored the Access to Family Building Act to protect Americans’ right to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology services. In April, Warner and Kaine urged the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to require health insurance coverage of IVF medical treatments and medications for federal employees. In March, Kaine invited Norfolk-born Elizabeth Carr, the first person born in the United States via IVF, to join him as his guest at the State of the Union. Kaine held two roundtables in Norfolk and Arlington to discuss the need to protect IVF. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, Kaine worked across the aisle to introduce the Reproductive Freedom For All Act, a bipartisan bill to protect access to abortion and contraception. 

The Right to IVF Act is endorsed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, MomsRising, the Endocrine Society, Indivisible, and the What to Expect Project.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.