The 2016-17 legislative season was one for the record books! RESOLVE celebrated an historic victory in Congress and several wins at the state level, not to mention helping defeat numerous bad bills that would hurt the family building community.
IVF 4 Vets
In September 2016, the hard work by RESOLVE advocates and our allies that began in 2012 paid off when Congress passed the MilCon-VA appropriations bill, which included an amendment allowing the Veterans Administration to offer IVF and/or adoption assistance to veterans with a service-related injury causing an infertility medical diagnosis. The #IVF4Vets win is a huge victory for our wounded veterans, and RESOLVE is working to make this temporary fix permanent by pushing for a full repeal of the VA’s ban on IVF.
Increased Access to Care and Fertility Preservation
Families living in four states (actually three states and the District of Columbia) also saw improved access to family building options in 2017, thanks to the work of RESOLVE and our allies.
Residents of Washington, D.C. now have access to all family building options, including surrogacy, with passage of the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016, which overturned the District’s antiquated ban on compensated surrogacy arrangements. D.C. had one of the most restrictive surrogacy laws in the country, so this win not only is important for families living in the District but sends a message to states with similar restrictions to change their outdated laws.
In New Jersey, infertility insurance coverage was expanded to include single women and women in same-sex relationships. The law also reduces the waiting period for heterosexual couples from two years to one year for women under 35 years of age and from one year to six months for women over 35, and requires the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees Health Benefits Plan to provide this expanded insurance coverage. Hundreds of thousands more NJ residents now have access to fertility coverage.
More history was made when Connecticut and Rhode Island became the first two states in the country to cover fertility preservation when a medical treatment, such as chemotherapy, causes infertility. RESOLVE and our allies in the Coalition to Protect Parenthood after Cancer believe that patients should not have to choose between effective medical treatment and a future chance at parenthood, and we are working to add more states to this important list.
These wins are very exciting, but they are only part of the story. RESOLVE monitored 51 bills in 25 states and D.C. this past year, more than any other year since we began tracking in 2008. Unlike the bills described above, much of this legislation would harm the infertility community by restricting access to family building options. These anti-family bills include so-called “personhood” bills, introduced in at least 11 states — and even in Congress — that would define human life as beginning at the moment an egg is fertilized. Such legislation could prevent doctors from practicing IVF in accord with the best standards of medical care. To date, no personhood bills have passed, and RESOLVE will continue to monitor and mobilize our constituents to defeat these bills whenever they arise.
Whether it’s a bill that restricts family building options or one that expands access to care, RESOLVE is there, on the front lines, fighting for you every day.