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Worst Piece of Federal Legislation Ever Introduced  

Posted by: Barbara Collura at August 16, 2016 
Category: Federal and State legislation 

I’ve seen a lot of bad legislation that would negatively impact  people with infertility from building their families introduced in state legislatures across the country. We’ve been fighting these bills – successfully – since the wave of anti-family bills started in 2008. But to say I was shocked when an amendment was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a few weeks ago is an understatement.  

An amendment to the House appropriations bill that funds the departments of Labor, HHS and Education was introduced by Dr. Andy Harris, a Representative  from Maryland. That’s right, DOCTOR Harris…but no, he’s not a reproductive endocrinologist, nor is he an Embryologist or an Ob/Gyn. He is an anesthesiologist. I am sure he is a fine physician, but he does not treat people with infertility. The “Harris Embryo Amendment”, as RESOLVE is referring to it, would prohibit the use of federal funds for IVF treatments that are provided by or in a federal government facility if that IVF treatment results in the discarding or destroying of viable embryos.

Dr. Harris’ concern is that during the IVF process embryos can be discarded or destroyed, which is an unavoidable consequence to a safe and proven medical treatment, especially if the embryos need to be cryopreserved or frozen. Dr. Harris is saying, if you want to access IVF through the federal government you can’t do anything during that IVF cycle that could discard or destroy that embryo.  You would not have full rights over those embryos and would not have the final say on what to do with those embryos. In fact, according to our analysis, it would prevent the thawing of cryopreserved embryos since there is a chance when viable embryos are thawed they don’t survive. No one can predict which frozen embryo won’t survive the thawing process – this would make thawing any embryo extremely risky if no embryo can be destroyed.

Our analysis concludes that it would be extremely difficult for active duty service members to continue to do IVF at the handful of  military treatment facilities if there was a regulation that prevented any embryo from being destroyed or discarded. Let’s assume they try and do IVF but can’t thaw any frozen embryos – can you imagine?  That would severely impact the success outcomes and options for patients. 

(BTW, did I mention that RESOLVE is currently advocating for another amendment introduced by Senator Patty Murray that would help wounded Veterans access IVF through the VA? It is awfully coincidental that the “Harris Embryo Amendment” was introduced right now which would make accessing IVF so much more difficult for our Veterans!)

RESOLVE has  grave concerns over this Amendment and we are not completely clear of how bad it really is if passed. It could be more far  reaching than just active duty service members  and  Veterans. Would insurance plans available to federal government employees no longer be able to cover IVF?  Maybe…but I don’t want to find out. 

Look, we know Members of Congress and groups opposed to IVF have stopped our efforts to get IVF for Vets many times in the past five years. We finally have a victory this summer and our foes had to find a way to stop our efforts. The “Harris Embryo Amendment” is it.  This Amendment needs to be stopped. The Federal Government should not be able to tell us what we can and cannot do with OUR embryos.  

When Congress returns in early September, we need to tell them this amendment is unacceptable. Tell us you want to stand with RESOLVE and let us know you are with us in this fight. We’ll let you know how and when to tell Congress the “Harris Embryo Amendment” is unacceptable. Pledge your support to stop this Amendment

Stand with RESOLVE. Stop the Harris Embryo Amendment 

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