Albany Update has previously reported on the ongoing effort to legalize paid surrogacy in New York. A vote on the paid surrogacy bill is planned in the State Senate on Tuesday, June 11 despite the fact that, as of June 10, the bill has not been acted upon by any Senate Committee. Furthermore, the Senate’s surrogacy bill was amended on Saturday, June 8, leaving little time for lawmakers to review the amendments prior to the anticipated Tuesday vote. Sadly, amending bills at the last minute and then rushing them through the Legislature is nothing new in Albany; controversial bills are often handled this way to avoid giving potential opponents time to react. If you have not yet reached out to your elected officials on this important issue, please click here and contact them today.
In recent days, supporters of paid surrogacy have sought to build momentum in support of their cause. On May 29, 2019, the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee (chaired by Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan) held a hearing in Albany entitled “Protecting Modern Families: Surrogacy Agreements & Children Born Through Assisted Reproduction.” As expected, the hearing was heavily slanted toward those who believe that the state should legalize contracts in which women are paid to carry embryos created through in vitro fertilization.
While the hearing lasted for more than three hours, its many speakers failed to make a persuasive case for paid surrogacy. Dr. Richard Grazi, an infertility specialist, brushed aside concerns expressed by opponents of paid surrogacy. According to Dr. Grazi, paid surrogacy is “‘dignity at its finest,’” and the notion that women acting as surrogates are exploited is “‘just fake news, at least in the United States.’” Another speaker, pro-surrogacy attorney Nina Rumbold, Esq., objected to Sen. Liz Krueger’s use of the term “gestational mother” to describe a woman who acts as a surrogate. Rumbold asserted that the term “gestational mother” was “‘a societal term that has a lot of baggage and isn’t fair.’” Sen. Krueger responded, “‘Well, we may disagree on that, because I think that if you’re carrying an embryo to term and giving birth, you pretty much have mother status.’”
Sen. Krueger, a Manhattan leftist, is typically no friend to Christians or conservatives. However, during the hearing, she raised several excellent questions. The senator asked about the increased health problems faced by surrogates, about excessive egg donation by young women and its potential health consequences, about the advisability of creating binding agreements by which the parentage of a child is determined before birth, and about whether medical guidelines about the surrogacy process provide sufficient protection for women. In each case, the answers to these questions were less than satisfactory.
Two days later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke at a New York City event during which he launched a campaign to legalize paid surrogacy and pass an unrelated bill that would affect the legal defenses that could be used by persons accused of violent crimes. At the event, Gov. Cuomo bragged about his achievements and disparaged New Yorkers who disagree with him. Regarding the Republican-led State Senate that he worked with during much of his tenure, the Governor said, “‘I understood their politics, and many of them were extreme conservatives, social conservatives. Despite that, frankly, we passed more progressive laws than I think anyone had a right to expect.’” Gov. Cuomo also incorrectly asserted that New York was the first state to pass a same-sex “marriage” law; in fact, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire bear the unhappy distinction of having passed such laws before New York did. Describing New York’s current ban on surrogacy as “‘repulsive, embarrassing, dehumanizing,’” “‘repugnant,’” and “‘discriminatory,’” the Governor asserted that there is “‘no rational opposition’” to paid surrogacy. (We wonder what the Governor’s father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, would have said about this comment had he heard it; Gov. Mario Cuomo signed New York’s paid surrogacy ban into law in 1992.) Of course, the Governor is wrong on this point; the opposition to paid surrogacy is entirely rational. It is rational to believe that children should not be bought and sold. It is rational to believe that the state should not encourage low-income women to jeopardize their health through unsafe practices relating to assisted reproduction. It is rational to believe that it is wrong to purposely create situations where a child is removed from the care of his mother immediately after birth. It is rational to believe that the state should not encourage assisted reproductive techniques that typically result in the creation of “extra” embryos that are frozen or discarded. And, despite the fact that it is now fashionable to believe otherwise, it is rational to believe that a home that features a married mother and father is the best possible environment for a child.
Friends, if you have not already done so, please visit NYCF’s Legislative Action Center today and ask your elected officials to vote “no” on paid surrogacy.