The problems with surrogacy

To the editor:

Surrogacy brokers, such as Steven Snyder, and their network of carefully groomed surrogates would have you believe that surrogacy is a beautiful process where everyone wins. But if surrogacy agreements are already happening, and everything is going well, then why are surrogacy advocates pushing for government interference in this business?

Put simply, the new legislation (HF 291/SF 2627) protects their significant business interests, as surrogacy arrangements can cost well over $100,000, and can pay surrogates tens of thousands of dollars (no wonder some surrogates and the fertility industry are rushing to defend the practice).

Follow the money.

As chronicled in films such as “Breeders” by the Center for Bioethics and Culture, surrogacy agreements do not always go well, and sometimes women decide that the intended parents are not fit parents, or that they don’t want to give up the baby that they have carried and with which they have bonded for nine months. And because Minnesota has never said these contracts are valid, courts have no duty to honor them.

Like many states, Minnesota law is unclear as to the validity of surrogacy agreements. Simply because they are happening, and no one is stopping them, does not mean that they are legal or valid contracts. For example, people may make agreements to sell themselves into slavery, and the government may not know about it, but our state would never enforce such a contract because it is inconsistent with our state’s public policy.

It is the position of those opposed to these arrangements that surrogacy agreements – which do in fact involve the buying and selling not just of babies, but usually also eggs, gametes, and even embryos (actual human beings) – are invalid contracts until the law definitively declares otherwise, which is what this legislation would do.

The proposed surrogacy legislation will also definitively foreclose any right a surrogate has to the child she carries, and does nothing to protect the woman who changes her mind, or the best interests of the children carried by surrogates. In fact, it circumvents and undermines the adoption process, which has many protections built into it for both the birth mother and child.

Minnesota should reject this legislation and instead join other American states, Canada, many European nations and ban surrogacy as bad for women, children, and our society because it commodifies human beings, amounts to human trafficking, and, in the words of the European Parliament, is a form of violence against women. We have not even begun to explore the many potential physical and psychological harms of surrogacy to both surrogates and the children that are being chronicled in the British Journal of Medicine and other places.

Surrogacy is baby-selling, pure and simple. Money is paid for embryos, and money is paid when the baby is delivered. Minnesota should be moving to reject this ghastly industry that, whatever the good intentions of some legislators, prospective parents and surrogates, is motivated by greed and contempt for the well-being of women, children, and society.

Jason Adkins

Executive Director

Minnesota Catholic Conference

St. Paul

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