Cindy Hyde-Smith Takes It Upon Herself To Shut Down IVF Protections, Again

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The brave senator from Mississippi this week fell on the IVF sword for her colleagues — again.

Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Access to Family Building Act the first time in December 2022. Back then, Duckworth, who has conceived two children via in-vitro fertilization, was aiming to shore up IVF access in the wake of Dobbs and a slew of restrictive abortion laws passing in red states across the country. At the time, she and other Democrats were concerned that the new laws in various states restricting access to abortion could also be applied to assisted reproductive technologies.

Duckworth introduced the bill and requested that it be passed via unanimous consent, meaning just one lawmaker could object to block it from getting a Senate floor vote. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was the one to object, blocking the legislation from advancing. At the time she said it was full of “poison pills.”

She said the same thing when she blocked the bill a second time this week.

Duckworth and Murray reintroduced the bill on Wednesday because what they were hoping to prevent with the legislation if it had been successful in 2022 came to fruition. Moved by the opening created by Dobbs, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that an embryo is a child under state law and has the rights of a child in wrongful death suits. At least three Alabama clinics have paused their IVF treatments until there’s more clarity on how to move forward with the procedure without fear of prosecution; it is standard for medical professionals to attempt to create more than one viable embryo because implantation isn’t always successful. Unviable or unused embryos are either frozen or destroyed, but its expensive to store them and insurance coverage of the procedure is spotty at best. So unused embryos are often destroyed as part of the process.

What’s different in 2024 compared to 2022 is the fact that Republicans have spent the last several weeks cartoonishly fumbling around as they try to declare their impenetrable support of IVF for families who can’t conceive while also agreeing with Alabama Supreme Court justices — that embryos are “babies.”

Hyde-Smith is staunchly anti-abortion and is the breed of Christian fundamentalist that would agree with the underlying fetal personhood ideology at the root of the Alabama ruling. It’s not surprising the Mississippi Republican went out of her way a second time to block the bill from advancing in the Senate on behalf of her colleagues. This time she used the “poison pills” excuse and also argued that the bill — which would give federal protections to IVF and override any state-level restrictions — went too far. She also claimed that the Alabama ruling “did not ban IVF, nor has any state banned IVF,” a head-in-the-sand assessment of the decision.

“The bill before us today is a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far, far beyond ensuring legal access to IVF,” she said in blocking its advancement Wednesday.

While Hyde-Smith and other Republicans are and will surely continue to hide behind “leave it to the states” arguments in lieu of doing anything tangible to demonstrate their enthusiastic support for in-vitro, Hyde-Smith may want to edit her website first.

Just a quick google of her abortion policy positions this afternoon turned up a page on her Senate website where she outright declares her belief in “the need for federal policies that strengthen America’s families.” To save you a click, a screen grab below:

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