ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey writes:
As I discussed in Part 1 of “Selling Children: Condemned or Celebrated?” when prospective parents go to any lengths to satisfy their own need to create children, there are dangerous consequences for the women caught up in the “manufacturing process” and the children ultimately “produced.” Not only does commercial surrogacy encourage the exploitation of women, but the whole process ignores the best interest of children. Prospective adoptive parents undergo extensive analysis to ensure children are placed in the best environment available. In surrogacy, however, the evaluation process is skirted in favor of those who can afford to buy the child. A surrogacy arrangement centers on the desires of the adults. It is the surrogate’s desire for money and the paying parent’s desire for a child that drives the arrangement, not what is best for the child that is produced. Social science has also demonstrated that children born via genetic donors experience a host of mental and emotional challenges. The NJ report warned that children born via surrogacy may be viewed as, or even more dangerously, may view themselves as “luxury items” available to those who can afford them.
Society recognizes these dangers in many other contexts.
- We don’t allow people outside the womb to be bought and sold.
- We don’t allow people to sell a kidney to the highest bidder, even though the body can function with only one.
- A pregnant woman can’t sell her baby to the highest bidder; rather the state has an extensive adoption procedure to protect both women and children.
- A pregnant woman who has agreed to an adoption has the opportunity to reconsider her decision after the baby is born, but HB 1267 sought to prevent a woman from changing her mind and thereby elevates the rights of the purchasers over the rights of adoptive parents.
Human experience and sociological study both make it clear why the State of Washington has outlawed commercial surrogacy. Fortunately the Washington Senate saw the dangers and stopped this attempt to celebrate a dangerous practice that should be condemned.
Brett Harvey, Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, was invited to testify before the Washington State Senate Committee concerning the legal ramifications of HB 1267. The Senate version of the bill, eliminating the provisions relating to commercial surrogacy, must now be reconciled with the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the Governor and signed into law.
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