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Following the Alabama IVF Ruling, Durbin Announces Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing to Examine the Continued Fallout Since the Supreme Court Overruled Roe V. Wade

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin condemns recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are “children” under state law

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the Committee will hold a full committee hearing this work period to examine the devastating fallout since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, including Alabama’s recent State Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos created during the IVF process are “children” under state law. 

Durbin said, “Now, we live in the world of Dobbs—where Republicans have seized the opportunity to restrict women’s reproductive rights, health, and freedom of families across America.  Since the Dobbs ruling, Republican-led states have imposed abortion bans that threaten women’s lives, and Republicans in Congress are attempting to pass a national abortion ban.  And now, it has gone one step further, as we knew it would.  Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court—which is made up entirely of Republican appointees—ruled that frozen embryos are legally children and that their destruction can be treated like the wrongful death of a child.  That decision cited Dobbs multiple times.”

“This unprecedented decision has already had serious consequences for reproductive rights in the state of Alabama, as major health care providers have halted in vitro fertilization out of fear of prosecution,” Durbin continued.  “For those who desperately want a baby but struggle with infertility, for cancer patients who must safeguard future reproductive options as they undergo treatment, for same-sex couples who use IVF to expand their families—this ruling is devastating.  How can Congressional Republicans call themselves the pro-life, pro-family party when they are actively preventing women from using modern science to start a family?  How can they be for life when they are supporting laws that endanger women’s lives?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overruled a nearly 50-year-old precedent that had been reaffirmed multiple times, unleashed a health care crisis in America.  Following the ruling, more than 20 states either banned or severely restricted access to abortion.  Many of these bans provide no exceptions for rape and incest, and many are insufficient in protecting the health and lives of mothers.

Durbin continued his speech by condemning Republicans’ extremism.  In December 2022, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) asked for unanimous consent to pass a bill that would have established federal protections for access to IVF and other fertility treatments. Unfortunately, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI), the junior Senator from Mississippi, blocked it on behalf of the Republican caucus.

“And because of extreme Republicans, we live in a country where women who desperately want to become mothers, but who need the help of IVF, may now be denied that opportunity.  It is unconscionable that Republicans would go this far, but not surprising… Republicans have told us that they will continue to attack women’s rights.  We would be foolish not to take them at their word.  Remember when Donald Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overrule Roe v. Wade?  He did and they did,” Durbin said.

Durbin concluded, “I am committed to working with my Democratic colleagues to safeguard women’s reproductive rights, and I do this in [honor] of my great colleague and friend Tammy Duckworth.  She is standing up for all women across America who want the chance to fight for the opportunity to create their own families.  We are going to have a hearing on this issuein the Senate Judiciary Committee.  It is important enough [and] it is timely enough that we do it and do it effectively.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.