The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What the Fuck?! 

The great state of Indiana is attempting to pass a law (PDF format) that will require licenses to become a parent through artificial means. Single women need not apply.

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."

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.

H/T to Protein Wisdom for finding this one. When I first read about this... I just couldn't believe it. Then I saw some of the comments on the Protein Wisdom post here and further down... and I started to question how true this was. Darleen seems to like this law, but is clearly only cherry picking certain parts of it. So I read the whole 22 page law (and it's a normal poorly written hard to understand law). Here is my sum up.

First of all... married couples going to a doctor with their own sperm and egg are not covered under this law, whether going through IVF or a surrogate parent. Lucky them. The people covered by this law are those where one of the donors (either egg, sperm, or both) do not belong to the intended parent(s). Darleen likes the fact (and I agree with this part) that is puts into law how parental rights are given. These sort of procedures are full of heart breaking stories where people have tried to come back later and claim parental rights, practically stealing a child away from the only parents he or she has ever known. Not only that, there are stories of parents trying to force donors into support arrangements after the fact. But this law does not stop there.

This law goes even further, and says that it is illegal for a single woman to go to a doctor and get pregnant through artificial means. Period. It also imposes background checks on married couples seeking to undergo these procedures. Darleen seems to think that this is acceptable because it puts artificial reproduction on the same level as adoption which has the same requirements in Indiana (and I'm sure other states). Now... issue number one is whether single parents ought to be denied the right to adopt on their face. I'm a bit on the fence with this one.

My main concern here is issue two... that of the slippery slope. If Indiana can pass a law which makes it illegal for a woman to get pregnant artificially, why can't it go one more step and make it illegal for her to get pregnant naturally? Why stop there? When will they pass the law that makes pre-marital sex illegal? I know it seems outrageous to suggest that possibility... but frankly I would have thought a law like this were pretty outrageous too.

Right now the penalty is a misdemeanor against the woman, and the doctor. Not too big of a deal for the woman, but I'm sure it would affect the doctor's licensing. But if having single parents is so awful... when will the law be changed to enable the government to take that child away into "protective custody"? That sort of change is really only a small step if licensing is palatable to you.

This is not an area of our lives where government belongs! Hopefully it never makes it out of the legislature.

Update: Thank God... it has been dropped by the legislature... for now.

Comments:

I don't like the proposed law, I even say it is way overreach, but I did argue that it was some "all your uteri belong to us" conspiracy.

Contract law between parents and surrogates should be adequate to cover cases where the gestational mom and the genetic mom are two different people, but in too many cases, it hasn't been. Those contracts haven't been worth the paper they are written on.

Yes, I too read the whole 22 pages and some of it is eye-crossing and way too intrusive and restrictive.

  Posted at October 06, 2005 9:51 AM by Blogger Darleen  
whoops... "it was NOT some "all your uteri belong to us"

I need more coffee.

  Posted at October 06, 2005 9:52 AM by Blogger Darleen  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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