Declaring that “a human baby is not a consumer product to be bought or sold based on the supply and demand of the economy,” the New York State Catholic Conference has urged lawmakers to reject a proposal included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget that could allow commercial reproductive surrogacy in New York.
In a letter sent via email to members of the State Senate and Assembly on March 6, Kathleen M. Gallagher, pro-life director for the Conference explained that a section in the proposed budget, misleadingly called the “Child-Parent Security Act,” would remove New York’s longstanding prohibition on commercial reproductive surrogacy.

“The language in the Executive Budget would … allow contractual profit-making arrangements whereby a woman’s womb will be bought/rented for the purpose of breeding a child for a third party, to whom the infant will be relinquished at birth,” Gallagher wrote. “We strongly urge you to oppose the repeal of New York’s prohibition.”

“Reproductive commerce is human exploitation,” she continued. “Commercialization denigrates the dignity of women by degrading pregnancy to a service. In states where surrogacy is permitted, surrogate services are advertised, surrogates are recruited — most often on college campuses, in poor neighborhoods, and on military bases — and operating agencies make large profits. Yet the process of surrogacy entails invasive, often burdensome, medical procedures and serious health risks for women.”

Currently, New York Domestic Relations Law declares surrogacy contracts contrary to public policy, void, and unenforceable, Gallagher explained. Vendors who assist in arranging such contracts are liable for up to a civil penalty of $10,000 and forfeiture of the fee received in brokering the contract; a second violation constitutes a felony. This policy was signed into law in 1992 by then-Governor Mario M. Cuomo, with broad bipartisan support.

“The language in the Executive Budget would undo this policy and allow contractual profit-making arrangements whereby a woman’s womb will be bought/rented for the purpose of breeding a child for a third party, to whom the infant will be relinquished at birth,” Gallagher wrote.

“We would note that the legislative language offers no protection for children in terms of the intended home in which they will reside. As with adoption placements, should there not be background checks and home inspections prior to a child being relinquished? Why does the legislation contain ‘eligibility requirement’ for the surrogate mother but not for the ‘intended parents’?

“We believe that the surrogacy policy proposed in the Executive Budget fosters grave violations of human rights and human dignity, and will reap many dangerous consequences. It is not in the best interests of women, children, families or society,” she wrote.

“We urge you to oppose the “Child-Parent Security Act” language in the proposed Executive Budget, as well as the freestanding legislation (S.2071) known by the same name.”

Read the entire letter here:  https://www.nyscatholic.org/letter-to-nys-senate-regarding-commercial-surrogacy/

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