Well, my home state of Indiana is at it again. Sen. Patricia Miller has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to have children though assisted pregnancies, unless you are married. Even further, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization or other procedures must be approved by the state and those participating must register with the state and provide information such as values, hobbies and talents, personality descriptions and religious background. Not only is the proposed law blatantly unconstitutional, it steps all over the basic ideals that this country was founded upon.
The law comes on the heels of a passage of an anti-gay marriage law that was passed recently; I wrote about it in the article titled ‘Wrong on Both Sides’. It seems that the success of this law has spawned the submitting of even further limitations on the rights of homosexuals and non-traditional citizens (second class). The bill is pretty long and mostly amends previous law. However, it does add new requirements on assisted reproduction. The line of remedies cannot be performed by a doctor legally unless the individuals seeking reproduction have a license. Some of the requirements for the license, other than being a married man and woman (since you can’t legally be married if you are gay, this is already excluded) are included in section 12 of the bill which I will quote in its entirety. I normally don’t do this, but cutting out the sheer volume of regulations on the simple process of having a child is mind boggling and I don’t want it missed.
(a) Before intended parents may commence assisted reproduction, the intended parents shall obtain an assessment from a licensed child placing agency in the intended parents’ state of residence.
(b) The assessment must follow the normal practice for assessments in a domestic infant adoption procedure and must include the following information:
(1) The intended parents’ purpose for the assisted reproduction.
(2) The fertility history of the intended parents, including the pregnancy history and response to pregnancy losses of the woman.
(3) An acknowledgment by the intended parents that the child may not be the biological child of at least one (1) of the intended parents depending on the type of artificial reproduction procedure used.
(4) A list of the intended parents’ family and friend support system.
(5) A plan for sharing any known genetic information with the child.
(6) Personal information about each intended parent, including the
(A) Family of origin.
(E) Employment and income.
(F) Hobbies and talents.
(G) Physical description, including the general health of the individual.
(H) Birth verification.
(I) Personality description, including the strengths and weaknesses of each intended parent.
(7) Description of any children residing in the intended parents’ home.
(8) A verification and evaluation of the intended parents’ marital relationship, including:
(A) the shared values and interests between the individuals;
(B) the manner in which conflict between the individuals is resolved; and
(C) a history of the intended parents’ relationship.
(9) Documentation of the dissolution of any prior marriage and an assessment of the impact of the prior marriage on the intended parents’ relationship.
(10) A description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents, include a description of individual participation in faith-based or church activities, hobbies, and other interests.
(11) The intended parents’ child rearing expectations and values.
(12) A description of the home and community, including verification of the safety and security of the home.
(13) Child care plans.
(14) Statement of the assets, liabilities, investments, and ability of the intended parents to manage finances, including the most recently filed tax forms.
(15) A review of the local police records, the state and violent offender directory, and a criminal history check as set forth in subsection (c).
(16) A letter of reference by a friend or family member.
(17) A written consent from each donor, if known, to use of the donation in the assisted reproduction medical procedure.
(18) The recommendation for participation in assisted reproduction.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (d), the licensed child placing agency shall conduct a criminal history check on each intended parent and any other person who is currently residing in the intended parents’ home.
(d) A licensed child placing agency is not required to conduct a criminal history check on an intended parent if the intended parent provides the licensed child placing agency with the results of a criminal history check conducted:
(1) in accordance with IC 31-9-2-22.5; and
(2) not more than one (1) year before the date on which the licensed child placing agency provides written approval for the commencement of the assisted reproduction procedure.
(e) The intended parents shall pay the fees and other costs of the criminal history check required under this section.
(f) After completing the assessment described in this section, and if the child placing agency approves the intended parents to commence the assisted reproduction procedure, the agency shall issue a certificate that the intended parents have satisfactorily completed the assessment and are ready to commence assisted reproduction.
(g) A certificate issued under subsection (f) is valid for two (2) years.
(h) A physician may rely upon a certificate issued under this section to commence assisted reproduction with an intended parent.
(i) A certificate issued under subsection (f) must be filed with the petition to establish parentage.
The sections that strike me as the most unconstitutional are:
12.b.6 Which lists the information that must be presented to the state before they will consider giving you the license to engage in assisted reproduction. Values? Personality description? Physical description? I also find the requirement to detail your lifestyle, including what faith based activities you belong to, and how they compliment those of your spouse, section 12.b.10, suspicious, to say the least.
I don’t think I have to go into the myriad of reasons that this is just plain wrong. Between the huge openings for abuse of race, religion and any number of other things I could imagine as well as the fact that the state has NO business knowing most of this information, I can’t see any judge anywhere allowing this to pass through its courts without being laughed out. My fear is, though, that it may just get to the general assembly to be voted on someday. Just having it get out of committee is a sign that the Indiana State Senate has gone above and beyond the realm of reasonability and not just the bill’s author should be frog-marched out of town, as Joe Wilson might say.
And you can bet I will be there on October 20th when this is presented to the open public. If it even gets to that point and isn’t withdrawn first, which may happen if the phone calls that the members of the committee continue as I think (hope, pray) that they will.
But it just goes to show how insidious this notion of mixing religious values and societal laws is. My last article dealt with the idea a little bit but it surprises even me that this was even seriously suggested, let alone written down into bill and submitted! I am not one who is usually paranoid about the Slippery Slope, but we have to recognize when it is occurring in front of our very eyes.
What happens when it is decided that in order to be allowed (!) to have a child you have to show that you are a member of the Republican Party? Or Democratic Party? Or belong to some environmental group actively working to clean up the air? Or a member of the Baptist Church (Catholics, Lutherans, Muslims, Agnostics, Athiests, Jews, 7th Day Adventists need not apply). Or that you are a ‘pure’ Caucasian? Or a non-smoker, a non-gambler, a non-whatever it is that is considered bad at the time?
What happened to the notion, the VERY simple notion, that we are all free to live our lives as we choose to as long as they don’t infringe on others to do the same? Somehow that idea has not only been ignored or forgotten, with bills like this it is being urinated on, pardon the alliteration, and sacrificed to the God of the Busybodies.
Didn’t we fight a war a couple of centuries ago that addressed these very notions? Blood was spilled, lives were lost. Are we so eager now to reverse everything that those people gave their lives for, and countless others have since, just so that we can lord over other people who are considered somehow ‘unworthy’?
I think it’s time. Those of us who realize that a separation between religious/personal law and societal law must be in place to prevent this type of disgusting abuse must realize it is time to fight back. Get involved and push back on the notion that this type of oppression must be stopped, here and now. Even if you might disagree with some of the personal behaviors of those that are different from you, stand up for their RIGHT to be different, to live their lives just as you want to live yours, free from the oppressive hand of the Good Intended. If you don’t, there may not be anyone left to help you when your way of life is threatened in the same manner.