The following blog was provided by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Domestic and international sources of law recognize the right to family, including the right to rear children. Similarly, the reproductive justice (RJ) frameworkstands for the idea that all individuals have the right to have children, not to have children, and to parent the children they have in a healthy and safe environment. However, proposed and current laws and policies assault access to contraception, abortion, sterilization, public benefits, and pregnancy-related healthcare services, all of which may be necessary for individuals and couples seeking to make the choices that are best for them and their families. LGBT individuals and couples who need these services face barriers to accessing them, and they also must confront laws that deny them the right to create the families that many of them desire.
Modern reproductive technologies, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as more long-standing practices, such as surrogacy, are available to LGBT individuals and couples who wish to start families. However, these options are out of reach for many, particularly given that same-sex couples, especially lesbian couples, are more likely to be poor than their heterosexual counterparts. IVF in the U.S. averages around $10,000 per treatment—an expense that is out of reach for many LGBT would-be parents. And surrogacy typically bears a price tag of $30,000 or more, as well as social controversy and legal difficulty (and, of course, potential legal costs) associated with enforcing surrogacy contracts in most states. Even the states that are relatively surrogacy contract-friendly often do not have laws that are LGBT-friendly, meaning that both intended parents are not automatically legal parents.
While adoption presents its own share of challenges—it, too, can be costly and it is not necessarily equally available to non-citizens—it also gives LGBT couples the chance to give forever homes to some of the hundreds of thousands of children in the child welfare system. But here, again, LGBT couples may face hurdles in bringing children into their families. Same-sex couples are bannedfrom jointly adopting children in five states and the lack of treatment of this issue in the laws of another 28 states creates uncertainty for willing parents. Furthermore, the lack of relationship recognition for same-sex couples in many states may give them lower priority for adoption, giving preference to married couples and even disqualifying non-married cohabiting couples. To read more, click here.
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