Surrogate Pregnant With Triplets Sues to Stop Birth Father’s Demand She Have an Abortion

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 5, 2016   |   11:44AM   |   Washington, DC

A California surrogate mother filed a lawsuit Monday to protect one of her unborn triplets from being aborted by the biological father.

The New York Post reports that the babies’ biological father is demanding that one of the triplets be aborted because he only wants two of the children. The unnamed Georgia man threatened to not pay surrogate Melissa Cook if she refused to abort one of the babies.

Despite the pressure, Cook refused to abort the third triplet. She was 17-weeks pregnant in November when her story first gained national media attention.

“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” Cook said in November.

The babies were conceived using the father’s sperm and a 20-year-old donor’s eggs, LifeNews previously reported. Cook’s contract with the biological father would pay her $33,000 for the pregnancy, plus $6,000 for each additional child, the report states.

Her lawsuit claims that California’s surrogacy law is unconstitutional, because it violates due-process and equal-protection rights in the U.S. Constitution, according to the Post.

Cook said because of her experience, she does not view surrogacy arrangements as favorably as she once did.

“Children derive a special benefit from their relationship with their mother,” Cook said. “I now think that the basic concept of surrogacy arrangements must be re-examined, scrutinized and reconsidered.”

The report continues:

Cook’s lawsuit claims she is the legal mother of the triplets and seeks custody of at least one who was targeted for abortion. A custody hearing would determine the fate of the other two.

Cook retained lawyer Harold Cassidy, who represented the surrogate mom in the famous Baby M case in New Jersey a generation ago.

“The surrogacy contract in this case and the California Surrogacy Enabling Statute will not withstand constitutional scrutiny,” Cassidy said.

“The notion that a man can demand that a mother terminate the life of one of the children she carries by an abortion, and then claim that she is liable for money damages when she refuses, is cruel to the mother,” Cassidy said.

He said it’s also “cruel to the child” to allow it to be raised by a stranger when Cook wants the baby.

Cook has four of her own children, including a set of triplets, according to reports.

The publicity surrounding Cook’s story prompted another surrogate mother to come forward and seek help for a very similar situation.

The anonymous Southern California surrogate also is pregnant with triplets, LifeNews reported in November. She said one of the parents of her unborn children is pressuring her to abort at least one of them.

After reading about Cook’s situation in the news, a friend of the anonymous woman contacted the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a watchdog group for surrogacy exploitation, and asked for legal help to save the unborn triplets, the report states.

“This woman was asked to submit to an abortion. She’s asking for legal help,” said Jennifer Lahl, director of the center. “That’s why Melissa Cook’s story was so empowering. When one woman tells her story, it encourages other women to come forward. There’s strength in numbers.”

Since Cook’s story was published, people have volunteered free legal assistance and even adoption of the third triplet, according to the Post. Others are collecting donations to help her and the babies. The Center for Bioethics and Culture also is helping Cook fight for the lives of all of her unborn triplets.