Indiana Sen. Patricia Miller has temporarily pulled her controversial Unauthorized Reproduction legislation from consideration following an overwhelming public response against the bill.
Sen. Patricia Miller
On Oct. 5, Miller released a one-sentence statement regarding her decision, "The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission."
According to a draft of Miller's bill, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation and egg donation would have been required to first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court.
Only married women would be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the gestational certificate would only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents. This process included a review of the intended parents' "religion and faith-based activities."
Within 48 hours of the news breaking locally and nationally about the content of the legislation, Miller issued her retraction. According to staff members who work for members of the Indiana General Assembly, legislators were overwhelmed by thousands of angry phone calls and e-mails.
While the bill made parenting illegal for unmarried women and couples using assisted reproduction, many critics believe it was part of the Republican's larger agenda to deny state rights to homosexuals and lesbians.
Last spring, Indiana lawmakers completed the first of three steps necessary to amend the state's Constitution in an effort to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman, but it also goes on to specify that no legal rights of marriage may be conferred upon unmarried persons. The amendment must be approved by a separately elected General Assembly in 2007 and receive majority support by voters when placed on the ballot in November of 2007.
Though she has temporarily pulled the bill, Miller is expected to reintroduce the Unauthorized Reproduction legislation in a different form next spring. Should it pass, the law will be upheld by the marriage amendment to the Indiana Constitution that prohibits the legal rights of marriage, including parenting in this case, from being granted to unmarried persons.