TRENTON, N.J. — Four lesbians have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge a New Jersey law that they say inhibits them from obtaining insurance coverage for infertility treatments because it only pertains to male/female couples.
Erin Krupa and her partner Marianne decided five years ago to have children through a donor, but soon found that Erin was infertile. While her doctor vowed to help her become pregnant, Krupa found that her insurance provider, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, couldn’t cover any treatments due to a state law that requires couples to prove their infertility through “two years of unprotected sexual intercourse.”
As those of the same sex were not created to reproduce with each other, naturally Krupa could not demonstrate what the law required.
She is now therefore suing the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance as she believes the requirement violates the Constitutional rights of lesbian women by making them pay out-of-pocket while male/female couples can receive coverage.
“Despite having a medical diagnosis of infertility, because, as a lesbian in a committed relationship, Erin could not show that she had unprotected sexual intercourse with a man for the requisite period, the Krupas were not protected by the mandate,” the lawsuit states.
“Every day that New Jersey law continues to exclude women in same-sex relationships from the protections of the infertility mandate, these women must either wait for the law to change as their childbearing years continue to slip away or, if they have any available resources, bankrupting themselves and their families in order to pay for fertility care that is automatically covered for straight women,” it continues.
Also joining in the suit are Sarah Mills and Sol Mejias (in separate homosexual relationships), who also take issue that they have had to pay for treatments out of pocket.
“Sarah is currently seeing a psychotherapist to deal with the psychological and emotional impacts of this situation, as well as the strain it places on her relationship with Gloria,” the legal challenge outlines.
The women are seeking an injunction against the law, as well as compensatory damages and emotional damages. They are also requesting that the court declare the law a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the United States Constitution.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has denied any wrongdoing, remarking in a statement that it handled “infertility services equally, regardless of sexual orientation.”
“We interpret the 2001 New Jersey law defining infertility in a gender and orientation neutral manner and our coverage standard complies with federal non-discrimination requirements,” an unnamed spokesman said in a statement to NJ Advance Media.
“Members unable to conceive due to medical or biological reasons are covered for the specific infertility benefits included in their policy,” the company stated. “Horizon is committed to equality, values our LGBTQ members, and is sensitive to their unique healthcare challenges and needs. We regularly review our standards and procedures to ensure parity and fairness for all of our members.”
As previously reported, in 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that mandates insurance companies in the state to provide coverage for infertility treatments for homosexuals. But some were perplexed about the wording of the legislation, and interpreted it conversely of how the plaintiffs in the New Jersey suit read their state’s statute.
“The way the law works, gay and lesbian couples would simply have to testify that they have been having sex for a year without producing a child to be considered ‘infertile,’ which is [100% of the time], since baby-making requires necessary components missing in homosexual activity,” commented writer Ben Shapiro.
“It doesn’t mean situations in which two gay men are both infertile and incapable of impregnating a surrogate mother,” he continued. “It means situations in which gay or lesbian couples can’t make a baby by having sex with each other. In other words, every single gay and lesbian couple on the planet.”