Senate Republican Blocks Bill to Protect I.V.F. Treatment

A Republican senator on Wednesday blocked quick passage of a bill that would establish federal protections for in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments in the wake of a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos should be considered children.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican of Mississippi, objected to approval of the measure, which would establish a federal right protecting access to I.V.F. and fertility treatments, scuttling its chances for now.

Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, sought to pass the bill on Wednesday under a procedure that allows any one senator to object and stop it in its tracks, effectively daring Republicans to oppose it and highlighting divisions within the G.O.P. on how to handle the issue.

“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 I.V.F.,” Ms. Hyde-Smith said on the Senate floor, adding that she supported access to I.V.F. but that “this bill misses the mark.”

The legislation states that people have a right to “access assisted reproductive technology” — and that doctors have the right to provide it and insurers the right to cover it — without fear of prosecution.

Democrats orchestrated the attempt to pass the bill as they sought to point out the hypocrisy of Republicans who have rushed to voice support for I.V.F. after the Alabama ruling, even though many of them have sponsored legislation that declares that life begins at the moment of fertilization. Such a bill could severely curtail or even outlaw aspects of the treatments.

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