New Texas Law Recognizes Fertility Fraud as Felony Sexual AssaultOctober 2, 2019
Fertility doctors in Texas can now face felony sexual assault charges if they use reproductive material from a donor that a patient did not select or expressly consent to. That’s because, as of September 1st, a new Texas law—Senate Bill (SB) 1259— took effect, criminalizing this type of fertility fraud.
The new law also extends the definition of sexual assault to include inseminating a patient without consent.
Advocates are now hoping the new Texas law will pave the way for similar legislation across the U.S.
News Reports Spur Action to Criminalize Fertility Fraud in Texas
In May 2019, ABC’s “20/20” and The Dallas Morning News aired segments featuring the story of a Dallas woman named Eve Wiley. In the news reports, Wiley explained how her parents had selected a sperm donor only to discover, decades later, that the fertility doctor had inseminated Wiley’s mother with his own sperm.
This devastating news was compounded by the fact that what the doctor had done was not illegal under Texas law.
Wiley’s story brought national attention to this issue and was pivotal to uncovering more victims of “daddy doctors” who had committed this type of fertility fraud. It also inspired Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) to work closely with Wiley to create SB 1259.
New Texas Fertility Fraud Law: Charges & Potential Penalties
Unanimously passed by the House and the Senate, the new Texas fertility fraud law doesn’t just apply to consent and patient insemination. It also covers the statute of limitations for these cases, providing two years from the date on which the offense is discovered to file felony sexual assault charges.
Since many victims don’t discover this type of fraud until years after the insemination, the new statute of limitations will make it possible for more daddy doctors to be brought to justice. Shockingly, one report found that about 2% of doctors admit to using their own sperm to inseminate patients.
Those convicted under the new law, which only applies to offenses committed on or after Sept. 1, 2019, can be sentenced to:
- 6 months to two years in jail
- Fines up to $10,000
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