Miss Chris’s Blog

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The Crime of “Unauthorized Reproduction”
New law will require marriage as a legal condition of motherhood

By Laura McPhee

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 throu gh 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.”

The change in Indiana law to require marriage as a condition for motherhood and criminalizing “unauthorized reproduction” was introduced at a summer meeting of the Indiana General Assembly’s Health Finance Commission on September 29 and a final version of the bill will come up for a vote at the next meeting at the end of this

month.

Republican Senator Patricia Miller is both the Health Finance Commission Chair and the sponsor of the bill. She believes the new law will protect children in the state of Indiana and make parenting

laws more explicit.

According to Sen. Miller, the laws prohibiting surrogacy in the state of Indiana are currently too vague and unenforceable, and that

is the purpose of the new legislation.

“But it’s not just surrogacy,” Miller told NUVO. ” The law is vague on all types of extraordinary types of infertility treatment, and we

wanted to address that as well.”

“Ordinary treatment would be the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. But now there are a lot of extraordinary thing s that raise issues of who has legal rights as parents,” she explained when asked

what she considers “extraordinary” infertility treatment.

Sen. Miller believes the requirement of marriage for parenting is for the benefit of the children that result from infertility

treatments.

“We did want to address the issue of whether or not the law should allow single people to be parents. Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents – a mother and a father – do better. So, we

do want to have laws that protect the children,” she explained.

When asked specifically if she believes marriage should be a requirement for motherhood, and if that is part of the bill’s

intention, Sen. Miller responded, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

A draft of the legislation is available on the Health Finance
Commission website

http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/prelim/HFCO04.pdf

The next meeting of the Health Finance Commission will be held a t the Statehouse on October 20, 2005 at 10 am in Senate Chambers and

is open to the public.

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