Ron DeSantis approves bill criminalizing unwanted inseminations
Image via Colin Hackley.

The measure increases regulation on fertility clinics.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure making it illegal for a doctor to inseminate a patient with genetic material without her knowledge.

In addition to criminalizing “reproductive battery,” the law (SB 698) puts increased regulations on fertility clinics and aims to prevent unwanted pelvic exams.

With the advent of in vitro fertilization and now with easily accessible genetics tests, some people are learning they have unexpected half-siblings. Plantation Democratic Sen. Lauren Book fronted the effort after reports of fertility doctors using their own sperm to inseminate women who thought they were receiving sperm from a donor.

When the bill goes into effect on July 1, it will be a third-degree felony to inseminate a women with genetic material she did not consent to. If that material belongs to the doctor himself, the offense becomes a second-degree felony.

“The signing of this bill into law is a victory in the fight for women to have control over their own bodies,” Book said in a statement. “Women seeking fertility treatment in Florida will now be protected from a group of predatory physicians who commit selfish narcissistic acts; and pelvic exams will now require specific consent, except in cases of emergency, finally halting the wholly inappropriate practice of unapproved pelvic exams on unconscious women … where at best, these exams have been wrongful learning experiences for medical students or at worst, the equivalent of a sexual assault.”

Book and her husband used IVF to help conceive.

“We put our whole lives, a small fortune and complete faith and trust into the hands of a physician,” Book said.

“On my IVF journey, I learned that there are many, many good infertility doctors who do the right thing and work to do the best thing by their patients,” she added. “But since that time, I’ve come to learn about many others who have fallen prey to careless and even intentional harm inflicted in a largely unregulated industry.”

The bill also explicitly requires consent before a pelvic examination is performed on a female patient at a hospital. Medical students routinely practice different types of exams on hospital patients, with the patient’s consent.

However, those consent forms often don’t elaborate on specifically which types of exams are approved. Book’s legislation requires pelvic exams to be explicitly listed on a consent form.

During the lower chamber’s debate on the bill, House sponsor Rep. Evan Jenne added a provision extending that ban — sans clear consent — to teaching doctors as well.

“We were afraid that even though while it might stop medical students from doing it that you could still have this situation where a teaching doctor was performing a pelvic floor exam on an unconscious, unconsenting women while the medical students just stood there and watched, but it was still happening,” Jenne said.

The law was one of several signed by the Governor Thursday, including Jordan’s Law.


Florida Politics reporter Ryan Nicol contributed to this report.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Sonja Fitch

    June 19, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Another man thing again and again how disgusting!

  • Florida Voice for the Unborn

    June 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Florida Voice for the Unborn today, June 19, 2020, issued the following statement regarding pro-abortion Senator Lauren Book’s Senate Bill 698 (Reproductive Health):

    “Florida Voice for the Unborn is deeply disappointed that pro-life Governor Ron DeSantis chose to betray the unborn by signing Senate Bill 698 into law late on the night of Thursday, June 18, 2020, which was the deadline for him to take action on this deeply-flawed legislation. Since Senate Bill 698’s final passage in the Florida Legislature in mid-March, Florida Voice for the Unborn had been calling upon Governor DeSantis to veto it.

    Senate Bill 698, sponsored by pro-abortion state Senator Lauren Book (D – Plantation), sought to address the issue of unscrupulous fertility doctors using their own genetic material to impregnate female patients. While that is a noble aim, the bill also contained language that fundamentally violated the dignity of human life in its most vulnerable state, i.e. as a tiny zygote.

    Florida Voice for the Unborn vehemently objected to Senate Bill 698 because it contained a novel definition of ‘reproductive material.’ As defined in the final version of the bill, ‘reproductive material’ is ‘any human ‘egg’ or ‘sperm’ as those terms are defined in s. 742.13, or human zygote.’ The next line of the bill then defined ‘zygote’ as ‘a fertilized ovum.’

    Florida Voice for the Unborn’s position is that a unique human being comes into existence at the moment of fertilization. As unique human beings, zygotes can never be considered the equivalent of ‘sperm’ and ‘eggs’ — and cannot be termed under the law as ‘reproductive material.’ Moreover, Senate Bill 698 contained additional troubling provisions, which were added in at the very last minute and implied that human embryos are not unique human beings but rather are ‘things’ that are in the possession of others.

    For the past few months, Florida Voice for the Unborn had been sounding the alarm about Senate Bill 698, which was deeply flawed and agenda-driven from its inception. It was a trojan horse that sought to sneak anti-human life provisions into Florida law through the backdoor. Florida Voice for the Unborn’s executive director wrote a formal letter to Governor DeSantis outlining the problems with Senate Bill 698 and requesting that he veto it. Additionally, over ninety (90) pro-life activists throughout Florida contacted Governor DeSantis about Senate Bill 698 via Florida Voice for the Unborn’s website petition. Governor DeSantis’ office shamefully ignored our pleas by failing to give us the courtesy of a response.

    Governor DeSantis and Florida’s Legislative leaders failed to live-up to their pro-life campaign commitments. On June 2, 2020, Florida Voice for the Unborn’s executive director authored an article about Senate Bill 698, which was published on the website of the Society of St. Sebastian, a national pro-life public policy organization. In his article, entitled, ‘Florida Senate Bill 698: A Trojan Horse,’ our executive director exposed the dirty legislative tricks that were utilized to pass this flawed bill in Florida’s pro-life majority Legislature. Governor DeSantis’ last-minute, late-night approval of Senate Bill 698 is, sadly, more of the same shenanigans. It is simply not enough for elected officials to call themselves ‘pro-life.’ They must govern in a pro-life fashion, even when it is hard to do so. By signing Senate Bill 698 into law, Governor DeSantis betrayed the unborn. Florida Voice for the Unborn will not turn a blind eye to this betrayal and will be sure to inform as many Florida pro-life activists as possible about it – so that nothing like this happens again.

    Florida Voice for the Unborn is a new grassroots Tallahassee-based lobbying group that only focuses on pro-life issues impacting the unborn. It is strictly independent, and its work is guided by faith in God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Florida Voice for the Unborn supports all peaceful efforts by elected officials and others to end abortion and save lives. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @UnbornVoiceFL – and visit our website.”

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