New York Legalizes Buying Babies and Selling Pregnancy in Commercial Surrogacy

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 2, 2021   |   7:58PM   |   Albany, New York

The controversial practice of commercial surrogacy – paying a woman to carry and give birth to a baby for different parents – is now legal in New York state.

The Federalist writer Auguste Meyrat said the new law treats children like commodities and exploits poor women while accommodating the lifestyles of the rich.

The law, sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman, has been celebrated as a “model for other states.” It ensures that surrogate mothers receive legal representation and gives them the option to abort the unborn baby if they want to, according to the report.

“At its heart, surrogacy is not about accommodating life but accommodating lifestyles,” Meyrat said. “No longer is parenthood determined by the rules of nature or traditional monogamy … If an adult wants a baby and has $150,000 to spare, he or she (or both) can have a baby.”

Much like New York’s radical pro-abortion laws, the new surrogacy law denies rights to unborn babies, too.

According to the Catholic News Agency:

The legislation explicitly denies any and all rights to babies in utero, stating that they may not be viewed as a ‘child’ under the laws of New York, with the presumption that they must instead be viewed as manufactured products or disposable goods.

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Meyrat feared the new law could lead to more destruction of innocent unborn babies’ lives. LifeNews and other outlets have reported about surrogate mothers facing pressure to abort the unborn babies who they are carrying for others, sometimes because of a disability diagnosis and other times because the surrogate was carrying twins or triplets — more babies than the person wanted.

Meyrat wrote:

By defining parenthood by intention instead of biology, legalized surrogacy becomes a vicious process that is destructive of human life. Far from being a safe and automatic procedure, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and impregnating a surrogate are inexact sciences that frequently lead to loss of life. Moreover, the thinking behind purchasing a baby (to use cruder but more honest language) necessarily objectifies both the child and the surrogate mother and immediately leads to exploitation of the poor by the rich.

He also expressed concerns about surrogate mothers’ physical and emotional well-being, noting that many women who take on the job are not wealthy.

“Wealthy westerners preyed on poor, vulnerable women in other countries who faced extreme destitution or carrying a baby for a former boy band singer. In legalizing commercial surrogacy, New York is effectively signaling its support for this kind of extreme privilege over extreme poverty,” he continued.

Meanwhile, other countries are moving in the opposite direction, banning or heavily restricting surrogacy because of rampant abuse. Most countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden, prohibit it entirely, according to Euro News.

Expressing many of the same concerns as Meyrat did at The Federalist, Swedish activist Kajsa Ekis Ekman told the news outlet in 2018, “Surrogacy turns babies into commodities and women into factories, and it is also an industry that leads to trafficking and to the sale of children for abuse.”