Pro-life groups are applauding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for vetoing S1599, the Gestational Surrogacy Bill.
bill drew opposition from a coalition of very diverse groups, on different sides of the ideological spectrum. New Jersey Right to Life opposed the bill because it would legalize the commodification and exploitation of women and turn pregnancy and the miracle of birth into just another commercial transaction and a baby into a product.
Marie Tasy, the director of New Jersey Right to Life, sent LifeNews a statement applauding the pro-life governor:
The bill would permit commercial gestational surrogacy stating that “reasonable expenses” shall be made to the gestational surrogate including, but not limited to, “living expenses during her pregnancy including payments for reasonable flood, clothing, medical expenses, shelter, and religious, psychological, vocational or similar counseling services during the period of the pregnancy and during the period of postpartum recovery.” The bill posed the risk of developing a breeder class of women, particular for the poor and impoverished who could be exploited by brokers. In fact, NJRTL obtained information that proved the bill was crafted by surrogacy brokers who have a financial self interest in seeing this bill become law.
The bill also redefined the meaning of “natural mother” and “biological father” in law, setting the stage for many complex legal, ethical and societal problems. Additionally, S1599 completely ignored the recommendations of the NJ Bioethics Commission which concluded that these types of gestational agreements should never be the public policy of NJ.
Greg Quinlan of the New Jersey Family Policy Council also thanked Christie:
The concept of this legislation was repugnant on its face. The bill would have preyed on the poorest of women, who may have been tempted to escape difficult or desperate financial situations by carrying someone else’s child for large sums of money some estimates as much as $60,000 to $100,000. This would commercialize pregnancy in unimagined ways as well as violating the filial rights of the child and maternal rights of the “carrying” mother. We are talking about human beings, not commercial products.
The New Jersey Bioethics Commission was created to study the issue of surrogacy after the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1988 ruled unanimously against surrogacy in the famous Baby M case. The bipartisan commission, comprised of persons from diverse groups included physicians, scientists, mental health professionals, and attorneys, performed research, held public hearings, and gathered information for over 18 months. Three years later the Commission published their findings in a 171-page report. The report condemned all forms of surrogacy, including gestational surrogacy. It recommended legislation to strongly discourage the practice of surrogacy, including limited criminal sanctions and rules for awarding custody of the human beings born as a result.
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Kathleen Sloan, Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture, also applauded the veto:
Women’s health and human rights advocates are popping champagne corks all over the country today. Legislation that would have allowed commercial surrogacy in the state of New Jersey, without protections for women who serve as surrogates and no regulation of the fertility industry, was vetoed. Virtually written by surrogacy brokers, the blatant commercial exploitation of women contained in this legislation is staggering.
The Governor stated in his absolute veto, “I am not satisfied that these questions have been sufficiently studied by the Legislature at this time. Validating contracts for the birth of children is a step that cannot be taken without the most serious inquiry, reflection, and consensus.”
Please call and thank the Governor for vetoing S1599. Governor Christie can be reached at 609 292-6000.