Florida Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing Inseminating a Woman Without Knowledge and Creates New Cause of Action, “Reproductive Battery”
Many states around the country are enacting laws to protect patients against reproductive fraud, with the Florida Senate just passing a law to address this important issue, subject to Florida House approval. The unanimously approved Senate Bill 698 is summarized per below. The new Senate bill was spearheaded by Florida Senator Lauren Book.
The Florida proposed bill while tracking in the Florida House and Senate set out various protections for patients from illicit insemination and protocol for fertility clinics to follow for the protection of their patients. The first part of the approved Senate bill creates grounds for disciplining (including the revocation or denial of a doctor's license), doctors who intentionally transfer reproductive material without the recipient's consent. This new cause of action in Florida is referred to in the bill as a "reproductive battery". Reproductive battery is defined in the bill as intentionally transferring reproductive material knowing that the recipient has not consented to the use of the reproductive material, and constitutes a felony of the third degree. Such cause of actions' statute of limitation shall start to run on the date on which the violation is discovered and reported to law enforcement or any governmental agency. The next part of the new Florida Senate Bill 698 provides for the written consent of patients for pelvic examinations. Under the new bill, medical students, nursing students or any other student receiving training to become a health care professional may not conduct a pelvic exam without the written consent of the patient or the patient's legal representative except in the case of a court ordered exam or a medical emergency.An act relating to reproductive health; amending s. 456.072, F.S.; providing grounds for disciplinary action; amending s. 456.074, F.S.; requiring the department to immediately suspend the license of certain health care practitioners under certain circumstances; creating s. 456.51, F.S.; defining the term “pelvic examination”; prohibiting certain students from performing a pelvic examination on a patient without first obtaining the written consent of the patient or the patient’s legal representative; providing exceptions; amending ss. 458.331 and 459.015, F.S.; providing grounds for disciplinary action; creating s. 784.086, F.S.; defining terms; establishing the criminal offense of reproductive battery; providing criminal penalties; providing an exception; tolling the period of limitations; providing that a recipient’s consent to an anonymous donor is not a defense to the crime of reproductive battery; providing an effective date