Atlanta

As Congress debates protections for IVF, Georgia House Speaker promises preservation

ATLANTA — Georga House Speaker Jon Burns promised Thursday to protect access to in vitro fertilization for Georgia families after an attempt to do so in U.S. Congress failed to gather enough support.

A measure to create national protections to preserve access to IVF for American families did not manage to clear the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

Senate Republicans blocked a bill filed in the chamber by their Democratic colleagues, saying it was an overreach and a political show. Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure, with the final tally only reaching 48 to 47.

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The effort in Congress to pass IVF protections follows a national conversation about the fertility treatment sparked by a temporary ban on it in Alabama, where the state’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos were equivalent to children under state law, causing issues with parts of the IVF process regarding the embryos themselves.

While the Alabama legislature later passed a law providing legal protection for IVF clinics, Thursday’s Senate vote in Washington had Democrats highlighting stories of Americans who have used IVF to have families they may not have otherwise, and urging protections to prevent other potential complications.

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On Wednesday, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution expressing their concerns about how creating surplus frozen embryos for IVF results in the “destruction of embryonic human life” and affirmed that in terms of their religious beliefs, embryos are humans from the moment of fertilization, the same position of the Alabama Supreme Court.

While the protection of IVF didn’t pass in the Senate on Thursday, Georgia leaders said they remained committed to protecting access to the procedure.

“There should be no question that in-vitro fertilization will remain available in Georgia. Millions of families—many across our state—have struggled with fertility, and IVF has been a life-changing blessing for so many of them to become parents,” Burns said in a statement. “Last session, the House passed a resolution supporting IVF, and we will look to continue that work next session by putting forward legislation to enshrine those protections in law. In Georgia, we will continue to support happy, healthy and growing families at every step of the way.”

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