Republican congressman wants to limit IVF access to married heterosexual veterans only

Author: Christopher Wiggins

A U.S. congressman with experience in real estate and agriculture and not medicine says that in vitro fertilization should be limited to married heterosexual couples.

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, aMontanaRepublican, is facing backlash for his recent comments on IVF and family structures, which critics argue reveal deeply entrenched anti-LGBTQ+ and outdated beliefs. During a House Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, Rosendale proposed an amendment to a Veterans Affairs funding bill to restrict federal funding for certain assisted reproductive technologies, including IVF for unmarried and same-sex couples.

In his testimony, Rosendale equated the discarding of unused embryos to abortion, claiming, “We are likely destroying millions of unborn children through this process, a number much larger than Planned Parenthood aborts on any given year.” He also argued that taxpayer dollars should not fund fertility treatments for unmarried and same-sex couples, asserting, “There is no question that children do best when raised by a father and a mother. Taxpayer dollars should not go to couples that, before their service, couldn’t produce a child anyway. And I hate to break it to you, but same-sex couples can’t produce a child.”

A recent BMJ Global Healthstudy refutes Rosendale’s claims about family structures. The analysis of 34 studies conducted between 1989 and 2022 found that children withgay,lesbian,transgender, or other sexual minority parents fare as well as, or better than, children with parents of the opposite sex. The research indicated that children infamilies with sexual or gender minority parents performed similarly on various metrics, including physical health and educational outcomes. In some areas, such as psychological adjustment and child-parent relationships, children of sexual minority parents even outperformed their peers from traditional families.

The researchers suggested that growing up with sexual minority parents “may confer some advantages to children,” possibly because they are more “tolerant of diversity and more nurturing towards younger children” than heterosexual parents. However, they also noted the significant risks associated with being part of a sexual minority family, such as social stigma and discrimination, and called on policymakers to provide better legal protections and social support for these families.

In March, Rosendale co-authored a letter with three other GOP lawmakers criticizing the Biden administration’s expansion of IVF coverage to unmarried and same-sex couples,” Montana Independent Newsreports. The letter described IVF as “morally dubious” and criticized the creation and potential destruction of surplus embryos.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern highlighted the inconsistency in Rosendale’s testimony, pointing out the disconnect between public Republican support for IVF and their private efforts to restrict access. “Republicans love to go on TV & talk about how they support IVF. Here’s what they say up in the Rules Committee when they think nobody is watching,” McGovern tweeted, along with a video of Rosendale’s remarks.

Rosendale’s comments come at a time when LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights are increasingly under threat at both state and federal levels.

The high costs associated with becoming a parent through IVF, adoption, or surrogacy present significant barriers for many LGBTQ+ individuals. According to a 2019report by Family Equality, the financial burden on LGBTQ+ individuals seeking to start families can be substantial. The report highlighted that LGBTQ+ people face disproportionally high rates of poverty and that the cost of family-building can be prohibitive.

The report revealed that 29 percent of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22 percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents. It also showed that 45-53 percent of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents, despite significant income disparities. For LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually, options like private adoption, foster care, and IVF are more accessible.

The report underscores the financial challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, noting that surrogacy—the most expensive path to parenthood—can cost between $60,000 and $150,000 or more and is rarely covered by health insurance.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2021 showed there were approximately 1.2 million same-sex couple households in the United States. Around 15 percent of these households include children, a much lower proportion compared to 40 percent of heterosexual couple households. Same-sex couples are also four times more likely to have adopted children or stepchildren and tend to have smaller families overall.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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