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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Senate Approves Bill Ensuring Equal Access to Fertility Services for Same-Sex Couple
(San Francisco) The California State Senate today voted 26-10 to approve a bill that would ensure that women in same-sex relationships and single women can access fertility services on the same terms as women in different-sex relationships. Assembly Bill 2356, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and co-sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), would allow women using known donors to access certain fertility procedures that are less expensive and more effective. Previously approved by the Assembly, the bill will proceed to the Governor's desk after a routine vote in the Assembly to concur in amendments made in the Senate.
"I’m proud to author AB 2356, legislation that removes barriers to women seeking fertility services," said Assemblymember Skinner. "AB 2356 will end the unequal access to fertility services that LGBT women or single women confront when trying to conceive."
“Same-sex couples face many barriers in forming families, including unequal access to fertility healthcare,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California Board President. “This unequal treatment has, heartbreakingly, denied many couples the opportunity to conceive a child of their own. AB 2356 helps to remedy that disparity, putting the joy of having a child and building a family within the reach of all loving families. We thank Assemblymember Skinner for her leadership on this bill and advocacy on behalf of thousands of same-sex couples and their families in California.”
“Women using known donors are currently unable to access a more affordable and effective fertility procedure because donor testing laws don’t address this situation,” said Cathy Sakimura, Family Protection Project Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “This bill makes a small change in the law that will greatly benefit many families who would otherwise be unable to conceive.”
Increasingly, same-sex couples and single women are asking trusted friends to be donors to help them conceive a child. Currently, women in different-sex relationships who seek fertility services with a male partner are able to utilize fertility procedures that are less expensive and increase the chance of conception, while women who seek fertility services with a known donor who is not their partner are subject to time-consuming and costly repeat testing that decreases the chance of successful conception. This bill will allow women who have unsuccessfully attempted to conceive at home with a known donor to access the same fertility services available to different-sex couples.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 85 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.nclrights.org