HEADLINE: Gestational Surrogacy in New York



in 1992 New York Governor Mario Cuomo signed a law banning compensation for surrogacy close to 30 years later his son current Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to undo his father's action the battle over whether infertile couples should be able to pay a woman to carry their baby is far from over you have either an LGBTQ couple or you have an infertile woman infertile couple who can't make a child and want to bring a child into this world why wouldn't you let them do it but Cuomo's last-minute effort to legalize compensated surrogacy in New York failed the bill passed the Senate but fell short in the assembly the New York State Catholic Conference lobbied against the bill that would have allowed intended parents to pay a woman to act as a surrogate we opposed gestational surrogacy being commercialized because we believe it's harmful for both women and children noted feminist author Gloria Steinem joined the Coalition for trafficking against women in speaking against the bill and the National Organization for Women also cautioned against its passage this unlikely alliance is not new I remember walking the halls of the New York State Legislature with the lobbyists for the New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women in New York knocking on legislators doors as a coalesced partnership to say we believe this is bad for women and children the 30-year ban can be traced back to the case of Mary Beth Whitehead she was a paid surrogate in New Jersey who carried a child for a couple in 1986 when the baby was born white had refused to relinquish parental rights claiming that she was the child's biological mother the ensuing court battle raised moral and legal issues that still resonate today for women it denigrates their dignity as women by basically using their wombs as vessels for economic profit and let me just say a little bit about my story Senator Brad hoylman sponsored the bill his children were born by a surrogate this legislation would ensure that persons acting as surrogates have the strongest legal protections of any state that has authorized compensated surrogacy agreements Governor Cuomo initially linked the issue to LGBTQ rights but in the closing days of the session he also linked it to women's rights it also makes no sense since we spent months in this room arguing for a woman's right either roe v– wade which said a woman's body a woman's choice in this case why doesn't a woman's right govern when it is fully informed and fully consulted Kaycee cops dePaula represents surrogates and intended parents in Vermont these are not women who are being coerced in any way there are teachers they're nurses there's stay-at-home moms who want to be able to stay home with their kids but are in some income to contribute to their household the governor and supporters will have to wait until next year to once again try to undo the ban on paid surrogacy the unlikely alliance of opponents to the idea will no doubt be ready to work to uphold the ban

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