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Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi blocked a Democrat effort to seek unanimous consent for legislation that would establish federal “rights” to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and an array of other anti-life artificial reproductive technologies. 

Democrats have been attempting to stoke voters’ fears that IVF is on the verge of being banned ever since the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier this month that frozen embryos qualify as children under the law.

The office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall soon announced that he had “no intention” of prosecuting IVF facilities based on the ruling, yet industry apologists and their allies in the abortion lobby quickly acted to make IVF a national issue, while numerous Republicans rushed to declare their support for IVF, including former president and presumptive 2024 presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“Fertility clinics” in Alabama paused their IVF operations in response to the high court decision to determine whether continuing would put them in legal jeopardy.

Among those Democrats who have seized on the issue is U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who introduced her so-called “Access to Family Building Act,” ostensibly to preempt any restrictions on IVF.

However, as LifeSiteNews reported, the bill in question goes much further even than forcing states to allow IVF, and in fact would also legalize “human cloning, gene-editing to produce ‘designer babies,’ the creation of animal-human hybrids (‘chimeras’), surrogacy, and the trafficking and destruction of human embryos,” according to The Washington Stand’s Sarah Holiday. What’s more, it would empower the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring civil action against anyone attempting to restrict any of those practices.

READ: IVF linked to intellectual disability, autism in children: large study

Duckworth had intended to get the bill through the narrowly Democrat-controlled chamber by unanimous consent, under which it would pass without individual recorded votes as long as nobody objected. Now, however, Mediaite reports that when she attempted to do so, Hyde-Smith objected.

“Reserving the right to object,” she said on the Senate floor, adding that she supports “total access to IVF” but also stating her belief that “human life should be protected.”

It has been estimated that more than a million embryos are frozen in storage in the United States following IVF, and that as many as 93% of all embryos created through IVF are eventually destroyed.

The Catholic Church teaches, based on natural law, that IVF is gravely immoral because it separates the sexual act from procreation and violates the right of the child to be born of a conjugal union.

“Let’s be clear about what the Alabama case is about,” Hyde-Smith said. “This was a case brought by families whose human embryos were killed when an unauthorized individual walked into the fertility clinic through an unsecured door, removed several human embryos, and dropped them, causing their deaths. The court’s holding in favor of the parents found that these frozen human embryos are children under Alabama law. It did not ban IVF, nor has any state banned IVF. The bill before us today is a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far.”

Hyde-Smith reiterated those points in an interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. She said that if Duckworth and her colleagues still want to pursue the bill, now they will have to subject it to the full legislative process, including committee review and debate over its details.

Given how many Republicans are choosing and being instructed to support IVF, it was unclear whether enough in the House of Representatives would have crossed over to help Democrats send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk. Now, without unanimous consent, the bill would have to clear the Senate’s difficult 60-vote filibuster threshold in order to clear the chamber.

In vitro fertilization is fraught with ethical peril, as it entails the conscious creation of scores of “excess” embryonic humans only to be killed and human lives being treated like commodities to be bartered over. 

A 2019 NBC News profile of Florida fertility doctor Craig Sweet acknowledged that his practice has discarded or abandoned approximately a third of the embryos it places in cold storage.

Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, but IVF is permitted everywhere in the country, and even most pro-life politicians generally steer clear of the issue. Pro-life activists hope, and pro-abortion activists fear, that the Alabama ruling could force the beginning of conversations about expanding recognition and protection of the preborn to those created and discarded by IVF. 

Pray for an end to IVF and the protection of human embryos: Join our prayer pledge