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Constitutional Law

‘Jane Doe’ Sues Feds Over FDA Regs That Require Health Exams for Unpaid Sperm Donors

Posted Jul 9, 2012 2:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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If "Jane Doe" simply wanted to have sex with a man and get pregnant, the government would have little or no say in the situation until a child was actually conceived and born.

But because she is in a same-sex relationship with another woman, she can't be artificially inseminated with sperm given to her for free by a male friend without running afoul of federal Food and Drug Administration regulations that require expensive health exams and potentially could result in criminal sanctions if violated. That is not only unfair but "unconstitutional to the extent that they operate to regulate noncommercial, sexually intimate choices and activity," argues Doe, with the help of Cause of Action, in a federal lawsuit filed last week in the Northern District of California.

As long as sperm donors aren't charging, the FDA has no authority to regulate their services, contends Amber Abbasi, who serves as chief counsel for regulatory affairs for the nonprofit group, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

A press release provides additional details about the complaint (PDF).

FDA regulations concerning Doe's use of free sperm from a donor fall afoul of her rights to "privacy, bodily integrity and autonomy, liberty, life, due process and equal protection guaranteed by the First, Fifth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution," the complaint argues.

It seeks a court order allowing individuals to donate sperm for free without government interference, a declaratory judgment that federal regulations imposing requirements for doing so are unconstitutional and attorney fees and costs.

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