Editor’s Note: Another one of many troubling ideas out of Albany this session – the creation of a surrogate-mother industry – led Gloria Steinem to ally herself in opposition with the state’s Catholic bishops. She wrote this letter June 11. The state Senate passed the bill, but as this edition went to press, it was stalled in the Assembly. Happily, the legislative session ends today, June 19.
A few months ago, I joined over 100 women leaders in New York State who wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo opposing the “Child-Parent Security Act,” a bill that would legalize reproductive commercial surrogacy in our state. We need your help to stop this bill. Women’s health, rights and lives may depend on it.
The danger here is not the use of altruistic surrogacy to create a loving family, which is legal in New York now, but the state legalizing the commercial and profit-driven reproductive surrogacy industry. As has been seen here and in other countries, this harms and endangers women in the process, especially those who feel that they have few or no economic alternatives.
Under this bill, women in economic need become commercialized vessels for rent, and the fetuses they carry become the property of others. The surrogate mother’s rights over the fetus she is carrying are greatly curtailed and she loses all rights to the baby she delivers. The bill ignores the socio-economic and racial inequalities of the reproductive commercial surrogacy industry, and puts disenfranchised women at the financial and emotional mercy of wealthier and more privileged individuals.