By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS – A proposed bill that would prohibit gays, lesbians and single people in Indiana from using medical science to assist them in having a child has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.
State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, issued a one-sentence statement Oct. 5 about her decision to drop the proposal.
“The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission,” she said.
Miller had said this week that state law does not have regulations on assisted reproduction and should have similar requirements to adoption in Indiana. But Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, called it government intrusion.
“If were going to try to put Indiana on the map, I wouldn’t go this route,” said Cockrum. “It feels pretty chilling. It is governmental intrusion into a very private part of our lives.”
Miller acknowledged when she proposed it that the legislation would be “enormously controversial.”
“We’re not trying to stop people from having kids; we’re just trying to find some guidelines,” she said.
Miller is chairwoman of the Health Finance Commission, a panel of lawmakers that was to vote Oct. 20 on whether to recommend the proposed legislation to the full General Assembly.
The bill defined 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.
Miller acknowledged such a law would bar 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.”
The bill would have required “intended parents” to be married to each other and said an unmarried person may not be an intended parent.
A doctor could not have begun an assisted reproduction technology procedure that might result in a child being born until the intended parents had received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill. The assessment is similar to what is required for infant adoption and would have been conducted by a licensed child-placing agency in Indiana.
The required information would have included the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child-care plans and criminal history checks.
Description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents also would have been required, including participation in faith-based or church activities.
Ken Falk, legal director for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, said his office began hearing about the bill a day after the rough draft was discussed by the Health Finance Commission. He said the bill would have set up a clear discrimination that would be difficult to uphold in court.
“My question is ‘What is the danger that we are legislating against?’ Are we saying that only married persons should be able to be parents, which is certainly a slap in the face to many same-sex couples but also to many who do not have a partner but have undertaken being a parent,” Falk said.