Via Feministing and Booman Tribune, this bill gives me one more reason to be embarrassed about my home state, and very worried about the future of Hoosier women’s reproductive rights (like me–duh), and the rights of same-sex couples trying to become parents.
Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant “by means other than sexual intercourse.”
According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a “petition for parentage” in their local county probate court.
Only women who are married will be considered for the “gestational certificate” that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the “gestational certificate” will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.
As it the draft of the new law reads now, an intended parent “who knowingly or willingly participates in an artificial reproduction procedure” without court approval, “commits unauthorized reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor.” The criminal charges will be the same for physicians who commit “unauthorized practice of artificial reproduction.”[...] (emphasis mine)
A little more info on the bill via The Journal Gazette (FortWayne.com).
[...]There are two parts to the draft legislation ““ the first dealing with some irregularities in central Indiana regarding surrogacy and adoptions. But the part of the bill raising eyebrows involves assisted reproduction.
It defines assisted reproduction as causing pregnancy by means other than sexual intercourse, including intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and sperm injection.
The bill then requires “intended parents” to be married to each other and specifically says an unmarried person may not be an intended parent.
A doctor can’t begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child’s being born until the intended parents of the child have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill.
The assessment is very similar to what is required for infant adoption and would be conducted by a licensed child placing agency in Indiana.
Some of the required information includes the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, hobbies, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child care plans, letter of reference and criminal history checks.
A description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents is also required, including individual participation in faith-based or church activities.
The legislation appears to affect some married couples, although the rough draft is unclear at times. Miller said the draft will be cleaned up before a vote.
The bill does not apply to assisted reproduction in which the child is the genetic child of both of the intended parents ““ i.e., the sperm is from the father and the egg is from the mother.
But married couples that need one or the other would still have to go through an assessment process and establish parentage in a court.[...]
And Senator Patricia Miller’s defense–I guess–of the bill….
[...]“We’re not trying to stop people from having kids; we’re just trying to find some guidelines,” she said.
She did concede it would stop single people from using methods other than sexual intercourse but said “all the studies indicate the best environment for a child is to have a two-parent family ““ a mother and a father.”[...]
Hm. I wonder if this is the kind of thing Margaret Atwood would write about. (Jill over at Feministe has a little more on this.)