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Anderson, Bebe J. “Lesbians, Gays, and People Living with HIV: Facing and Fighting Barriers to Assisted Reproduction.” Cordorzo Journal of Law and Gender 15, no. 3 (2009): 451–75.


Anderson’s main argument is that lesbians, gay men, and individuals who have tested positive for HIV face discriminatory barriers accessing assisted reproductive services. According to the article, assisted reproduction is defined as “the use of non-coital technologies to conceive a child and initiate pregnancy.” (453) Assisted reproduction holds special importance to gay men and lesbians who have few alternative methods to have a child as well as HIV-positive individuals who do not want to infect their partner or child with the disease. Anderson provides ample evidence for her argument, such as instances where governmental organizations or state laws impose regulations for sperm donation, including screenings that bar HIV-positive men from donating sperm. In addition to this, some states criminalize men who knowingly donate sperm that is HIV-positive. Secondly, she highlights the barriers to insurance coverage for assisted reproduction, where many providers narrowly define and tailor their definitions of infertility to heterosexual couples who engage in unprotected sex for up to a year before turning to assisted reproductive technologies. These narrow definitions discriminate against same-sex couples as well as HIV-positive individuals. Thirdly, she highlights provider bias as well as religious beliefs as barriers because, in each instance, providers deny services. Anderson acknowledges that while gay men, lesbians, and HIV-positive persons face barriers to assisted reproductive access, she cites federal laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on disability as one legal ramification to combat discrimination. In Bragdon v. Abbott, the Supreme Court ruled that HIV is to be considered a disability and thus public entities cannot discriminate against those who test positive. She notes that numerous states have anti-discrimination clauses that pertain to sexual orientation. Anderson offers a simple problem-solution article where she identifies some of the barriers gay men, lesbians, and people living with HIV face in accessing assisted reproductive technologies. She then gives a detailed outline, identifying the ways in which these forms of discrimination can be combated. Because this article is written in a straightforward, understandable manner, it is of relevance to anyone interested in the discrimination gay men, lesbians, and people living with HIV face at the hands of governmental organizations, federal, and state laws. It contextualizes ‘reproductive rights’ by exemplifying the ways in which certain subgroups may be left out or directly discriminated against.   


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Legislation/policy   Legal case   Disability justice   Assisted reproductive technology   LGBTQ