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Klobuchar slams Republicans who voted against IVF legislation

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) blasted her Republican colleagues for voting Thursday to block a bill that would have made in vitro fertilization (IVF) a public right to treatment.

In an interview with CNN’s “The Source,” Caitlin Collins asked Klobuchar what her message was to Senate Republicans who said they supported IVF but voted against the bill because of Democrats’ “political window dressing.”

“Tell that to the two women I met this morning from Minnesota who both had beautiful children through IVF,” Klobuchar replied. “Eight million people […] “Children born through IVF in the United States. Over 1,100 were born in my state alone last year. These are real families. These families are watching this in horror.”

“And of course, we want to enact it into law,” Klobuchar continued in her message to Republicans, “So if they want to do it, don’t just talk about it, do it.”

Thursday’s bill needed 60 votes to move forward, which required nine Republicans to defect to join Democrats. The final vote was 48-47, with only two Republicans defecting: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

The IVF Rights Act, introduced by Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Ore.), and Cory Booker (D-Ore.), is a collection of four bills that would establish a national right to IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies and make IVF treatments cheaper and more accessible.

Thursday’s vote is the latest in a series of bills prepared by Senate Democratic leadership to enshrine reproductive rights into law, coming a week after Republicans blocked a similar Democratic bill that would have guaranteed a right to birth control.

Republicans criticized the vote as an election-year ploy and raised concerns about the unfunded mandate and its impact on religious freedom.

Republican senators on Wednesday tried to bring up an IVF replacement bill introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) that would prevent states from receiving Medicaid funding if they banned IVF but would not be able to block courts from restricting it.

Cruz and Britt also said that while the bill would not create a right to IVF, it would ensure that the procedure is fully protected by federal law.

Murray blocked the bill on Wednesday, saying it “clearly allows states to enact restrictive and burdensome requirements that would force IVF clinics to close,” adding that “this bill is nothing more than a PR stunt, providing an excuse for Republicans to continue pretending they have no intention of controlling women’s bodies.”

Britt said on the Senate floor Wednesday that Democrats are only interested in stoking fear.

“Unfortunately, they’re not interested in coming up with a bill that would actually protect access to IVF and how to get that into law, because that wouldn’t advance their real objective, which is partisan electoral politics,” Britt said.