It’s true that there have been exciting and encouraging advances in LGBTQ rights recently. But as you may have seen featured here on our blog from Ellen Trachman’s articles at Above the Law, there’s still a long ways to go, especially when it comes to parenting rights and access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
When the Obergefell v. Hodges decision guaranteed the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples last year, some states began to try to find ways to get around the decision. Unfortunately, parenting rights for the LGBTQ community, which had been meager to begin with, began to be chipped away even further, from “Natural Meaning” laws being proposed in Tennessee to the Pidgeon v. Turner decision from the Texas Supreme Court.
In better news, just two weeks ago, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Obergefell decision did indeed grant same-sex couples “the constellation of benefits” that other couples enjoy in their states in the Pavan v. Smith decision.
While some places race forward to make IVF and surrogacy easier for all to access, some continue to throw up roadblocks, especially to LGBTQ communities, and a lot of that has to do with insurance coverage. Only fifteen states require that insurance companies even offer infertility treatment coverage, while only seven of those fifteen states actually require employers to offer infertility benefits to employees. And in some cases, infertility has to be proven to even receive the benefit, which can be impossible for some same-sex couples.
The limitations and continual challenges to the LGBTQ community’s parenting rights and access to ART is discouraging. But as more cases are brought fighting for the rights of LGBTQ couples to have families with whom and how they choose, the more encouraging the scenery gets. Here’s some more reading and resources on the status of ART and parenting rights for the LGBTQ community. If you have any questions as you start your own journey to becoming a parent, be sure to consult with an attorney in your state!
How LGBTQ Americans are Reshaping the Fight for Assisted Reproduction – Neil Mcarthur, VICE
Gestational Surrogacy Law Across the United States – Creative Family Connections
Reproductive Rights – The National LGBTQ Taskforce
Happy Fourth to All ART-Formed Families! Enjoy Your Rights – But We Still Have a Long Way to Go – Ellen Trachman, Above the Law