Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Draft Indiana law prevents many unmarried people from reproducing via assisted reproduction

I'm going to interrupt my celebration of cooking week to post on an unjust draft law: Indiana's Health Finance Commission is considering legislation that would regulate who can and can't reproduce via assisted reproduction (intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection).

The draft legislation is on the commission's website under Request Number 20061258 (PDF) and the pages inside the PDF are timestamped October 3, 2005 at 1:24pm.

The principal component of the proposed law is a set of regulations regarding how intended parents file a petition of parentage with a court. This petition would be required to allow a couple to legally reproduce via assisted reproduction when the male and female genetic donors are not both going to be the legal parents (e.g., a married woman being inseminated via a sperm donor who is not her husband). The petition of parentage is very complicated, and even includes evaluation by "a licensed child placing agency".

The requirement to apply for a petition of parentage is defined primarily by stating who does not have to apply for a petition:
This chapter [discussing the petition of parentage] does not apply to a child who is conceived by the following:
(1) Sexual intercourse. *
(2) Assisted reproduction in which:
(A) the intended father is the sperm donor; and
(B) the intended mother is the egg donor.
(3) A gestational carrier.
(4) Surrogacy.
Buried in the document are a number of restrictions on who can and cannot reproduce by assisted reproduction. Probably the most objectionable clause is the following:
(b) The intended parents must be married to each other, and both spouses must be parties to the action to establish parentage.
(c) An unmarried person may not be an intended parent.
So, combining this statement with the scope of the law (the first quote I included), we can see that unmarried individuals can reproduce via assisted reproduction when the male and female who provide the sperm and egg want to be the legal mother and father. However, unmarried individuals could not, for instance, reproduce using a sperm or egg donor. Thus, homosexual individuals would generally be prevented from reproducing via assisted reproduction, as well as single heterosexuals.

But not only would the law prevent many unmarried individuals from reproducing via assisted reproduction, it would also prevent some classes of felons from reproducing:
(b) The court may deny the petition to establish parentage if a petitioner has been convicted of a crime described in section 7(a)(5).
(c) The court may not grant a petition to establish parentage if a petitioner has been convicted of any of the following:
(1) Murder (IC 35-42-1-1).
(2) Causing suicide (IC 35-42-1-2).
(3) Assisting suicide (IC 35-42-1-2.5).
(4) Voluntary manslaughter (IC 35-42-1-3).
(5) Reckless homicide (IC 35-42-1-5).
(6) Battery as a felony (IC 35-42-2-1).
(7) Aggravated battery (IC
(8) Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2).
(9) Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3).
(10) A felony sex offense under IC 35-42-4.
(11) Carjacking (IC 35-42-5-2).
(12) Arson (IC 35-43-1-1).
(13) Incest (IC 35-46-1-3).
(14) Neglect of a dependent (IC 35-46-1-4(a)(1) and IC 35-46-1-4(a)(2)).
(15) Child selling (IC 35-46-1-4(d)).
(16) A felony involving a weapon under IC 35-47 or IC 35-47.5.
(17) A felony relating to controlled substances under IC 35-48-4.
(18) An offense relating to material or a performance that is harmful to minors or obscene under IC 35-49-3.
(19) A felony that is substantially similar to a felony listed in subdivisions (1) through (18) for which the conviction was entered in another state. However, the court is not prohibited from granting a petition based upon a felony conviction under subdivision (6), (11), (12), (16), or (17), or the equivalent under subdivision (19), if the offense was not committed within the immediately preceding
five (5) year period.
If anyone to whom this law applies reproduces by assisted reproduction and doesn't (or can't) obtain a petition of parentage (e.g., they're single, they're felons), they are officially criminals:
Sec. 20. (a) An intended parent who knowingly or intentionally participates in an artificial reproduction procedure without establishing parentage under section 15 of this chapter commits unauthorized artificial reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor.
(b) A physician who knowingly or intentionally fails to obtain the consent required under section 13 of this chapter commits unauthorized practice of artificial reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor.
(c) A person who knowingly or intentionally makes a materially false or
misleading statement under this chapter commits deception in establishing parentage, a Class A misdemeanor.
So, if a lesbian wanted to have a child, based on this law it would be better for her to force herself to go out and sleep with some random guy (in which case the child is produced by sexual intercourse, and therefore this proposed law does not apply) than to be artificially inseminated with the sperm of an anonymous sperm donor (which would make her a criminal).

* As a side note, the proposed law's definition of sexual intercourse is far from perfect:
"Sexual intercourse", for purposes of IC 31-20, means an act that includes any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
This definition may work well from a casual perspective, but it fails miserably from a reproductive perspective because there are multiple ways that fertilization can occur without penetration (sperm can swim, ya know). Thus, under a strict interpretation of this law, an unmarried woman who got pregnant without being penetrated would either have to file a petition of parentage or land in some legislative netherland (since the petition of parentage seems clearly intended to deal only with cases of assisted reproduction).

(Via a DU thread)

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