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Schiff, Chu Introduce Bill to Ensure LGBTQ+ Individuals Equal Access to Reproductive Treatments

June 22, 2022

Today, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) introduced the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act. This bill will rectify the unequal treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals seeking to start a family, by modernizing the federal tax code to allow equal treatment to those using assisted reproductive treatments and surrogacy arrangements regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and, when applicable, ability status.

Currently, the Internal Revenue Service does not allow some LGBTQ+ taxpayers to claim the medical expenses of assisted reproductive treatments – including invitro fertilization – as deductions, while typically allowing heterosexual couples to do so, despite the fact LGBTQ+ individuals and families rely on such treatments more heavily to bring children into their families. Several court cases have been brought forth by same-sex couples in the last decade, yet in April 2021 the IRS affirmed the statute as it stands, solidifying the inequitable treatment of taxpayers based on sexual and gender orientation.

“Every person regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, or relationship status deserves the same opportunity to start and expand a family. But right now, our tax code is sorely outdated and makes it harder for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to afford treatments to bring children into their families, such as IVF. This bill would rectify this iniquity by allowing LGBTQ+ couples to deduct the cost of assisted reproductive treatments as a medical expense – a privilege heterosexual couples already have,” said Rep. Schiff. “Now more than ever, we must do everything we can to make sure everyone has access to affordable family planning care, and to protect people’s rights to make health care decisions for themselves and their families.”

“For many Americans, the struggles and high costs associated with starting a family are all too real — and LGBTQ+ individuals and couples face additional barriers, having to rely heavily on reproductive treatments, such as invitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogates,” said Rep. Chu. “Every American deserves access to quality reproductive care and the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act will even the grounds for taxpaying families seeking deductions on reproductive expenses — regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, ability status or marital status — and will ensure greater access and affordability for critical family planning care. This legislation is an important step forward in closing decades long disparity gaps in the tax code and building reproductive care equity for families across the country.”

“Equality California is proud to support the Equal Access to Reproductive Care Act, a bill which would modernize the U.S. tax code to allow LGBTQ individuals and couples to deduct medical expenses related to assisted reproduction treatments and surrogacy arrangements, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Rep. Adam Schiff’s bill would go far in addressing some of the systemic inequities that LGBTQ+ people face when seeking to build and expand their families,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “The rightward shift of the courts has resulted in restricted access to abortion, healthcare for transgender youth, and employer-covered birth control. Congress must do all it can to strengthen the ability of all individuals and couples to exercise autonomy over their family creation and provide equitable access to federal resources and protections.”

The legislation is co-sponsored by Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.). The bill has also been endorsed by the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Center for Reproductive Rights, COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), Equality California, Equality Federation, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, Men Having Babies, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Health Law Program, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Women’s Law Center, and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

To read the full bill text, click here.

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