The latest bill in California, SB 729, is raising eyebrows in conservative circles. The bill seeks to modify the definition of “infertility” from a medical condition to a personal status – “a person’s inability to reproduce either as an individual or with their partner without medical intervention.” This drastic change would cause gay men to be classified as infertile. The bill, which cleared the Senate last month, would bind insurance companies to cover in-vitro fertilization procedures and, with the modified definition, cover surrogacy costs for gay males.
Sen. Caroline Menjivar (D), co-author of the bill, asserts that it will “ensure that queer couples no longer have to pay more out of pocket to start families than non-queer families,” framing it as an equality measure. However, critics of the bill believe it encroaches on the realms of insurance firms and businesses and erodes traditional family values.
A group called Men Having Babies, enthusiastically endorsing the bill, claims it will “remove financial barriers” for gay men wanting to use a surrogate to conceive a child. They argue that the emotional struggle experienced by same-sex couples who cannot reproduce without medical intervention is equivalent to the heartache of heterosexual couples dealing with ‘medical infertility.’
Opposition to SB 729, as reported by the Free Beacon, stems primarily from California business and insurance communities who foresee a surge in insurance premiums by over $330 million a year. Other critics take issue with the broader societal implications of the bill, arguing that it chips away at the fundamental family structure.
Emma Waters of the Heritage Foundation voiced concern over the lack of focus on the child’s needs and safety concerns in IVF or surrogacy scenarios. Greg Burt, director of the California Family Council, took a firmer stance, denouncing the bill as an attempt to dismantle the traditional family structure and further the fictional cause of ‘fertility equality.’ He argued, “The reason healthy singles and same-sex couples can’t reproduce has nothing to do with infertility; it has to do with biology.” SB 729, notably, would not apply to any “entity that enters into a contract with the State Department of Health Care Services for the delivery of health care services pursuant to specified provisions.”