SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California bill ensuring that health-care coverage for infertility treatments would be provided to same-sex couples is a violation of the basic human right for a mother and a father, critics charge.
“What we’re concerned about is sperm and egg donation in general, for the purpose of creating children,” Bill May, president of Catholics for the Common Good, told Catholic News Agency April 30.
He said the practice deprives these children of “knowing and being cared for by their mother or father or both. It’s a violation of a fundamental human right, and it needs to be stopped.”
The bill, AB-460, amends California statute to say that “coverage for the treatment of infertility shall be offered and provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.”
Health-insurance policies in the state must already offer coverage for infertility treatment, except for in vitro fertilization. The bill will mandate that insurance plans for infertility cover same-sex couples and the elderly.
California statute determines infertility either by a condition recognized by a physician as a cause of infertility or by “the inability to conceive a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to a live birth after a year or more of regular sexual relations without contraception.”
Because California considers any inability to conceive after a year of “regular sexual relations” to be “infertility,” no medical diagnosis is needed.
The bill has a hearing in the Committee on Health of the California State Assembly, the lower house of the legislature, on April 30. If passed, it will go to the Assembly floor and then to the Senate. The measure was authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democratic representative from San Francisco.
Ammiano introduced the bill because “insurance companies are not complying with current state law that prohibits patients from being treated differently based on sex, marital status and sexual orientation and current law that requires registered domestic partners to be treated as spouses in regard to fertility treatments,” according to a fact sheet from the California Legislature.
Ammiano calls it discrimination that same-sex couples, even when the partners are physiologically fertile, not receive infertility coverage “based on not having an opposite sex married partner with whom to have one year of regular sexual relations.”
Carlos Alcalá, a spokesman for Ammiano, told The Weekly Standard that, under the bill, “if a plan covers egg donation costs for a heterosexual couple unable to conceive without it, it would have to cover those costs for a gay male couple as well.”
The Capitol Resource Institute opposes the bill, claiming it would violate the freedom of religion, conscience and thought of “many medical professionals and employers.”
California’s Catholic Conference also opposes the measure.
Existing legislation, which the bill does not meaningfully alter, ensures that employers and insurers who are or are owned by religious organizations would not have to offer forms of infertility treatment “in a manner inconsistent with the religious organization’s religious and ethical principles.”
May emphasized that the bill will contribute to the conception of children who are alienated from their biological parents and that every child has a right to know and be cared for by his parents.
“This practice turns children into commodities, into objects for the fulfillment of adults,” he said.
“This practice, of creating children from sperm and egg donors, has consequences. It’s an injustice to the child, depriving them of a fundamental human right.”