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 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
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
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 things 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
"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