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June 13, 2024

King Cosponsors Bill to Protect Access to IVF Treatments

Roughly 2% of all children born in the U.S. are conceived with the help of fertility treatments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) has joined legislation to protect access to fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). The Right to IVF Act would guarantee access to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which is most frequently used via IVF. Each year, roughly 2% of all infants born in the United States are conceived through ART treatments.

“In-vitro fertilization (IVF), and other common fertility treatments, have given hope to women across Maine who want to grow their family,” said Senator King. “In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the ongoing politically-motivated challenges to reproductive rights nationwide, we must protect a woman’s freedom to make the best, science-based decision for her family in consultation with her provider. American support for IVF is overwhelming and the Right to IVF Act would ensure every Maine family has the right to make their own decisions when it comes to planning for their future.”

Earlier this year, the Alabama State Supreme Court issued a decision that ruled stored embryos must receive the same legal protections as living children. This would have allowed legal action to be taken against all medical professionals performing IVF treatments. However, the Alabama State Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill to protect IVF providers from civil and criminal liability for embryos lost or damaged during IVF treatments. Even so, women, families and health care providers across the country using IVF do so without certainty of legal protection. There are at least 11 other states that currently have laws broadly defining a fetus as a person under the law; additionally, 13 states have personhood bills under consideration, each of which put IVF treatment at risk.   

The Right to IVF Act would:

  1. Establish a statutory right for an individual to access, a provider to provide and an insurer to cover — without prohibition, limitation, interference or impediment — Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)/in vitro fertilization (IVF) services provided in accordance with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) professional guidelines.
  2. Authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to commence civil actions to enforce statutory rights and a private right of action for adversely affected covered parties. 
  3. Allow servicemembers to cryopreserve gametes before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment and after an injury or illness.
  4. Permanently authorize and enhance fertility treatment and counseling options for veterans and servicemembers, while expanding family-building assistance, improving eligibility rules and strengthening research on servicemember and veteran long-term reproductive health.
  5. Increase affordability of fertility care, including IVF, by requiring employer-sponsored insurance plans and other public insurance plans, cover fertility treatments.
  6. Standardize baseline of high-quality fertility treatment coverage under private health insurance plans, while protecting Americans against excessive out-of-pocket costs.
  7. Promote the standardization and widespread availability of affordable fertility treatment coverage under employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
  8. Require insurance carriers that participate in the world’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program, the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program, cover ART, including IVF treatments.

Senator King is a strong supporter of a woman’s right to reproductive health care. He opposed the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade calling it “a dangerous, blatantly political ruling that will rob millions of women the fundamental right to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives.” Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, King voted to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation which would codify the longstanding precedent of Roe v. Wade into federal law and protect the right to these vital healthcare decisions. Last spring, he sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense highlighting the wide-ranging implications of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, and the challenges that restrictive abortion laws pose to servicemember health and finances, military readiness, recruitment and retention. Most recently, he joined bipartisan legislation to ensure military families receive the same access to quality reproductive health care as most Americans and cosponsored a bill to protect access to contraception.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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