A California surrogate mother who was under pressure from the biological father to abort one of her triplets gave birth to all three baby boys on Monday in a California hospital.
The Daily Mail reports surrogate mother Melissa Cook gave birth to the three boys several weeks early, and the babies are being cared for at the hospital. Though Cook successfully fought to save the babies’ lives from abortion, they were immediately taken away from her because the babies’ biological father has full custody, the report states.
Cook faced pressure from the triplets’ biological father to abort one of them because he said he only could afford two children, LifeNews previously reported. The Georgia man, referred to only as C.M., threatened to not pay Cook if she refused to abort one of the babies, according to reports.
“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.
Immediately after the babies were born Monday evening, they were taken from Cook, her lawyer Harold Cassidy told reporters. Cassidy said a judge granted C.M. full parental rights, but Cook is appealing the decision.
“The hospital personnel refused to let Melissa see the children, allow her to know what their condition is, refused to tell her their exact weights, and she is not being permitted to see the children at all,” Cassidy said. “We have a mother who loves them, who fought for them, who defended their life, who stands ready to take care of them. You can’t tell a mother who gives birth to children that what happens to the children is none of her business.”
Cook is suing for parental rights of the boys, according to Fox News. She also is challenging California’s surrogate law in federal court, claiming that it is unconstitutional.
The report continues:
Court documents reveal correspondence involving Cook and C.M., including a Sept. 18, 2015 message the father wrote to his attorney to say visits to a fertility clinic by Cook, whose pregnancy was deemed high-risk due to her age, were “draining my finances.”
“I do not want to abort twin babies, but I felt that is such possible (sic) to seek aborting all three babies,” he wrote. “I do not want to affect Melissa’s health. I do not have any more money in the bank, and my job does not pay great bi-weekly.”
Cook’s lawsuit says that, “C.M. depleted his life savings paying for the infertility doctors, paying the surrogacy broker, paying the anonymous ova donor, paying the lawyers and putting money into trust for the surrogate,” prompting “his demand that Melissa have an abortion because he could not financially afford the children and was otherwise incapable of raising the children.”
Surrogacy contracts typically allow for what is known “selective reduction,” where an embryo or fetus can be aborted, usually for medical reasons. The contract in this case was not made available to Fox News.
Last Nov. 24, according to the lawsuit, C.M. wrote: “My decision made is, requires a selection reduction (sic). I am so sorry.”
Cook, who was hired through Santa Barbara-based Surrogacy International, claims that she was threatened with legal and financial damages if she refused to undergo the procedure.
Robert Walmsley, who represents C.M., said his client asked Cook to abort one of the babies because of possible abnormalities.
The biological father also issued a statement this week, claiming that his intentions were misrepresented in the heavily publicized story.
“I have addressed those misrepresentations in the appropriate forum – the judicial system – and the appropriate Court has heard both sides and issued a correct ruling based on California law and any constitutional issues that there may be. I stand by the Court’s ruling,” C.M. said. “My interest is in protecting my three children. I continue to have concern for the health and welfare of the surrogate and wish to avoid her having unnecessary stress through a public presentation. I have no interest in sensationalizing the situation.”
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.”