Surrogate mom Melissa Cook never got the chance to see the triplets who she carried for a man in Georgia.
The situation went awry before the triplets were born when their biological father demanded that Cook abort at least one of them. Cook refused, and now she is suing the man for custody of the babies.
A federal court heard her case on Monday, The Daily Mail reports. Cook is arguing that the man’s threats during her pregnancy show that he is unable to care for the babies. She is seeking custody of the one baby he pressured her to abort, but she said she also is willing to take all three, according to the report.
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 unless she aborted 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.
According to the lawsuit, C.M. pressured her to have an abortion all the way up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. When she refused to abort one of the triplets, C.M. allegedly told Cook that he would put one up for adoption. Cook said she offered to take one of the babies, but he told her he would rather give his son to a stranger.
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The California woman gave birth to the three boys in February, LifeNews reported. Though Cook successfully fought to save the babies’ lives from abortion, she said they were immediately taken away from her. Because the babies’ biological father has full custody, she said she was not allowed to hold or breastfeed them. Hospital staff refused to even give her an update about their conditions, Cook said.
The triplets currently are believed to be in the Georgia man’s custody, according to the Daily Mail. C.M.’s lawyers told the court that the baby boys are receiving proper care.
Cook also is challenging a California law that her lawyers say takes away all rights from surrogates and the children they carry.
Michael Caspino, one of her lawyers, said the case could be a landmark decision about surrogacy laws.
“The only people with rights under the California statute are the people who write the checks to get the babies,” Caspino said. “Nobody else matters. That is wrong. That needs to be fixed.”
Harold Cassidy, who also is representing Cook, said the California law treats children “as if they were products to be bought and sold.”
Many pro-lifers are increasingly concerned about surrogacy for exactly this reason. Surrogacy, like abortion, treats unborn babies as products to be obtained or destroyed at will rather than human beings who deserve to be protected and valued. Because of this, surrogates like Cook often face pressure to abort unborn babies.
The publicity surrounding Cook’s story prompted at least one other surrogate mother to come forward and seek help for a very similar situation.
The anonymous Southern California surrogate also was pregnant with triplets, LifeNews reported in November. She said one of the parents of her unborn children pressured 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.”
In April, LifeNews reported another surrogate mother faced pressure to abort after the unborn baby was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The Colorado surrogate refused, despite the threat of a lawsuit. She is now raising the girl herself.