INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A bill that would strengthen penalties for fertility fraud in Indiana has passed both chambers of congress and is headed to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk.
Senate Enrolled Act 174 passed the Senate by a vote of 44 to 1 on Tuesday.
The legislation was authored by State Sen. Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) to help address fertility fraud issues in the state.
If signed by the governor, the bill would create a cause of action for civil fertility fraud as well as increase the penalty for fertility fraud to a Level 6 felony. It’s currently a Class A misdemeanor.
The bill was authored in response to the revelation that Dr. Donald Cline used his own sperm to impregnate patients without their knowledge from 1974 to 1987. He allegedly fathered as many as 57 children as a result.
When it came time for Marion County prosecutors to pursue charges against Dr. Cline, they were limited by state law with what they could do. He received no jail time after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.
“This bill would create greater consequences for these reprehensible acts by increasing the penalty for fertility fraud and allowing compensation of up to $10,000 for prevailing plaintiffs,” said Sen. Sandlin.
Matt White, one of the children fathered by Dr. Cline, says he couldn’t be happier about the bill’s progression.
“I think there’s gonna be some sort of relief in the sense that even though this bill won’t be able to hold Donald Cine accountable for his actions,” said White. “I think now having this bill in place to protect Indiana citizens going forward from fertility fraud of this nature – I think that’s definitely gonna be a good victory for us.”