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

Mar 26, 2019

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.