Legislative panel deletes making fertility fraud criminal

Some men and women whose mothers were unkowningly impregnated by their fertility doctor’s own sperm are upset that an Indiana legislative panel isn’t endorsing a proposed state law specifically against such actions.

The Senate Judiciary committee voted 7-3 Wednesday morning to strip from advanced Senate Bill 174, the section creating a felony charge of fertility fraud for doctors using their own sperm or eggs without the patient’s consent. The proposal now only would specifically give the mothers and children the right to file lawsuits in such cases. The panel then unanimously advanced the bill to the full Senate.

Marion County prosecutors said they were limited in charges against Dr. Donald Cline because state law doesn’t cover use of a doctor’s own sperm. Cline was given a one-year suspended sentence in 2017 after pleading guilty to obstructing justice.

The senator behind removing the criminal section, Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, said the law was unneeded and that existing laws were sufficient. Other senators said they would seek to have it restored to the bill. A companion bill, House Bill 1264, has been referred to the House Public Health Committee, and also includes language that would establish the crime of fertility fraud as a Level 6 felony.

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