Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Only Married Women Need Apply   posted by TangoMan @ 10/04/2005 01:31:00 PM

As a follow-up to my post Postrel on the Anti-Science Left I'm pleased to turn the spotlight on the Moralistic Right. Media Girl reports on new legislation being advanced in Indiana:

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 artificial reproduction."

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 month.

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.

I'll leave it to you to discuss why the Republicans think that targeting unmarried women who can afford an expensive IVF procedure is permissable but controlling the fertility rights of other unmarried women is out of bounds.

This is almost like waving a red cape in front of a bull. A number of prinicples are being conflated here:

1.) The stability of relationships needed to raise a child is not only conferred by a marriage certificate;
2.) Single motherhood has negative consequences as we've seen with teen mothers, poor mothers, and mothers who don't provide a father figure for their children, but not being married while seeking IVF treatment does not necessarily equate to the negative social dynamics often associated with single motherhood;
3.) Opposition to lesbians becoming mothers when two lesbians committed enough to pay for, and go though an IVF procedure, are more likely to be good parents than many poorly dedicated married couples who accidently became parents.

Note that the definition of "mother" would seem to include women acting as surrogates.

The more of these reports that I read the more I think that the fundamentalist Right and Left should get together and leave the moderates of each party to coalesce into a counterbalance. See Turning of the Tide.