Contrary to Media Reports, Tenn. Bill Won't Label Insemination Babies 'Illegitimate,' Sponsor Says

(Photo: REUTERS/Ajay Verma)An embryologist carries-out a sample preparation process at Fortis Bloom Fertility and IVF Centre inside the Fortis hospital at Mohali in the northern Indian state of Punjab, June 13, 2013.

A proposed bill in the Tennessee General Assembly will not de-legitimize a child conceived by artificial insemination, contrary to what media reports are saying, clarifies State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, a Republican and the bill's sponsor.

The bill, HB 1406, seeks to repeal the current statute, TCA Section 68-3-306, which states, "A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman's husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife."

"There is much confusion concerning HB 1406," Weaver writes on her Facebook page.

Explaining the reason for the bill, she adds, "A couple of months ago, the state's Attorney General filed a brief in a lawsuit related to this statute TCA 68-3-306 in which he said that the law, as written and enacted, was unconstitutional. It is not unusual for the legislature to repeal a law that is unconstitutional."

There is another statute, TCA 36-2-304, which is still on the books that makes it clear that when a child is born to a married woman, the child is presumed to be that of her husband, she notes.

"So, the repeal of the law does not de-legitimize a child conceived by insemination and, to be honest, the law that will remain on the books is less intrusive into the relationship of a husband and wife than the statute being repealed. Unlike the law being repealed, the remaining law that will now govern the situation does not have the government inquiring into the means by which the couple's child came into existence or whose sperm, the husband's or a donor's, was used."

She also writes, "HB 1406 does not apply to same sex marriages at all!!!!" Conflicting laws have got to be repealed, she stresses, pointing out that families and lives are affected.

Last year, Weaver and several other Republican lawmakers spoke about a same-sex marriage divorce concerning the custody of a child born through artificial insemination. They said the lesbian wife of the child's mother should not be considered a legitimate parent under the current statute, according to RAW.

Earlier this month, Weaver refiled a bill that would ban abortions in Tennessee after 20 weeks of pregnancy. As of now, the state law allows abortions up to viability, or until the fetus can survive outside the womb.