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Public Defenders Express Concerns Over Fertility Fraud Bill's Criminal Language

flag on desk in chamber

A House committee will consider changes to a bill creating criminal and civil penalties for fertility fraud. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana public defenders raised concerns in a House committee Monday about language in a bill that creates criminal and civil penalties for fertility fraud.

The committee opted to hold the bill for at least a week to work on that language.

The fertility fraud bill attempts to punish cases like that of Indiana physician Donald Cline, who used his own sperm – without his patients’ consent – to illegitimately father dozens of children. Matthew White is one of those children. He says patients just assume proper safeguards are in place.

“And that should someone, not to mention a medical doctor, knowingly inseminate unconsented reproductive material into a woman’s body, they will be held criminally and civilly accountable,” White says.

But Indiana Public Defender Council executive director Bernice Corley says the language creating a criminal penalty is too broad and could ensnare people it doesn’t mean to.

“So, if you have a woman that lies about the identity of the father of her child,” Corley says.

A House committee could consider changes to the bill as early as next week.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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