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Indiana Daily Student

Proposed bill would limit assisted reproduction

Law could restrict rights for gays, singles

INDIANAPOLIS -- An interim legislative committee is considering a bill that would prohibit gays, lesbians and single people in Indiana from using medical science to assist them in having a child.\nSen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, said state law does not have regulations on assisted reproduction and should have similar requirements to adoption in Indiana.\n"If we're going to try to put Indiana on the map, I wouldn't go this route," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. "It feels pretty chilling. It is governmental intrusion into a very private part of our lives."\nMiller acknowledged that the legislation would be "enormously controversial."\n"Our statutes are nearly silent on all this. You can think of guidelines, but when you put it on paper it becomes different," she told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne for a story Tuesday.\nMiller is chairwoman of the Health Finance Commission, a panel of lawmakers that will vote Oct. 20 on whether to recommend the legislation to the full General Assembly.\nThe bill 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.\nIt then requires "intended parents" to be married to each other and says an unmarried person may not be an intended parent.\nA doctor cannot begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child being born until the intended parents have 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 be conducted by a licensed child placing agency in Indiana.\nThe required information includes 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 is required, including participation in faith-based or church activities.\nThe legislation appears to affect some married couples, although the rough draft is unclear at times. Miller said the draft will be clarified before a vote.\nThe bill does not apply to assisted reproduction in which the child is the genetic child of both of the intended parents -- for example if 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.\nKen Falk, legal director for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, said his office began hearing about the bill Friday, a day after the rough draft was discussed by the Health Finance Commission.\nHe said it sets up a clear discrimination that would be difficult to uphold in court, and considers the bill to be unique nationally.\n"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.\nMiller said the state often reacted to problems and that she wanted to be proactive on this issue.\n"We're not trying to stop people from having kids; we're just trying to find some guidelines," she said.\nShe 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"

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