Press Release

Gillibrand Pushes For Legislation To Protect Access To IVF In The Wake Of Alabama Supreme Court Decision That Puts Reproductive Rights In Jeopardy

Feb 27, 2024

Following an unprecedented decision by the Alabama Supreme Court that puts access to reproductive health care at risk, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a video press conference to push for the passage of the Access to Family Building Act, legislation that would protect access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology services (ART). The bill would establish a woman’s right under federal law to access ART, protect a medical provider’s right to provide them, and safeguard an insurance carrier’s right to cover them.

Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a dangerous, first-of-its-kind ruling that strips away some of our most fundamental reproductive freedoms,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This ruling could have extreme implications nationwide – including in New York. It will make it harder for women to access infertility treatments, put doctors at risk of legal action, and establish a dangerous precedent that may be used by conservative courts to issue similar rulings in other states. I’m fighting to pass the Access to Family Building Act to firmly establish access to IVF and other fertility treatments as a federally protected right. Women deserve to start or grow their families without government interference, and I’m committed to making sure they can.” 

The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children and that those who destroy them can be held liable for wrongful death is expected to have far-reaching implications within the state and potentially nationwide. It provides a legal roadmap that may foreshadow future cases in other states. It may discourage doctors from providing IVF treatments for fear of being held liable for a failed embryo transfer or pregnancy. And it could vastly increase liability costs and force potential parents to store embryos indefinitely, meaning that IVF could become an unaffordable option for couples looking to conceive. The Access to Family Building Act would codify the right to IVF and similar treatments by preempting state and local laws that intentionally or unintentionally restrict access to fertility treatments; allow for DOJ to challenge restrictive state or local laws; and empower patients and providers to file civil lawsuits to preserve the right to receive or provide IVF and other treatments. 

The Access to Family Building Act is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). In the House, the bill was introduced by Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) and is cosponsored by Representatives Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Greg Landsman (D-OH), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Wiley Nickel (D-NC), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Hillary Scholten (D-MI), John Larson (D-CT), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), Andre Carson (D-IN), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Shri Thanedar (D-MI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL). 

The bill is endorsed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, Healthy Women, and Hadassah.