Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Creeping theocracy from a creepy theocrat
Sen. Patricia Miller of the Indiana legislature doesn't think the wrong sorts of women should be allowed to go around having babies. The wrong sorts of women include lesbians, single women, and, it seems, those without the correct church background. She isn't quite brave enough to suggest outlawing the giving of birth by those women (how would that work, Sen. Miller is firmly pro-life), but she has managed to take a bold step in that direction. She has authored a bill that would limit access to reproductive technology to married, heterosexual women, who pass a state assessment of their suitability. Did I mention that she's a member of the party that wants to get government off our backs?
An interim legislative committee is considering a bill that would prohibit gays, lesbians and single people in Indiana from using medical science to assist them in having a child.

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, said the state does not regulate assisted reproduction but should have requirements similar to its adoption requirements.


The bill defines assisted reproduction as causing pregnancy by means other than sexual intercourse, including intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and sperm injection.

It would require "intended parents" to be married to each other and says a single person may not be an intended parent.


Under the proposal, a doctor could not begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that might result in a child being born until the intended parents had received a satisfactory assessment. The assessment is similar to what is required for infant adoption and would be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency in Indiana.

The required information includes the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child-care plans and criminal history checks. A description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents also would be required, including participation in faith-based or church activities.

This the first I've heard of Sen. Miller. Indiana is a long way off of my beaten track. But I'll be sure to keep an eye out for her in the future. As a 23 year veteran of the Indiana General Assembly, Sen. Miller has been in the forefront of wingnut activities. She is, as I mentioned, strongly pro-life and has sponsored bills banning cloning and stem-cell research. She is an anti regulation warrior and last year sponsored a bill a bill that would have thrown out Indiana's water quality standards.

She is also a tireless culture warrior. When she's not writing bills to regulate the use of wombs (would that be went control?) she is active in various religious groups that are currently waging civil war within the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and United Methodist churches. These groups have names like Good News, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church, the Coalition for United Methodist Accountability (CUMA), and the Association for Church Renewal. The goal of all of these groups is to pull the liberal Protestant denominations to the right, making them resemble the Southern Baptists. They are not beyond forcing schisms in the churches to get their way. Gay marriage and clergy seem to their main money-making points.

I frequently point out that people in most states look at the antics of their state legislatures and think that they must be the laughing stock of all the other states. In reality, that esteemed position is usually monopolized by Texas, Florida, and Kansas. Indiana is on the verge of breaking into the club.

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