State representative defends artificial insemination legitimacy bill

A Tennessee state legislator is defending a bill that would consider children conceived via artificial insemination illegitimate in the eyes of the law. 

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) proposed HB 1406 to the Tennessee House of Representatives on Feb. 9. The bill would repeal Section 68-3-306 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, which defines children conceived via artificial insemination as “legitimate,” if they are born to a married couple.

The current statute is part of the Vital Records Act of 1977. The act states that “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.”

On Feb. 13, Weaver and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, have issued a joint statement after the media portrayed the bill using what they call “extremely inaccurate interpretations.”

“These reports upset the many husbands and wives who struggle with fertility by reporting that repealing the law would ‘label the child as illegitimate despite the couple being married and both consenting,'” said Weaver in the statement. “This is false. …Under this legislation, Tennessee law would continue to provide that a child born to a married woman will be considered the child of her husband.

“By repealing the law, and relying on other Tennessee statutes that remain, the state will no longer intrude into how a woman conceives her child,” said Weaver.

The bill is currently under review by the Tennessee House Health Subcommittee.

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