Wednesday, July 17th, 2024 Church Directory

MN House of Representatives Vote to Pass Surrogacy Bill

In late April, Minnesota State Representatives voted by a margin of 68-61 to advance H.F. 3567, a bill to establish a framework for commercial surrogacy agreements in Minnesota. The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) and Minnesota Family Council (MFC) have deep concerns about the legislation and hope it will be stopped in the Senate. The bill, which would legalize surrogacy in the state if passed by the Minnesota Senate and signed by Governor Walz, poses significant ethical and moral challenges that cannot be ignored.

As organizations committed to protecting human dignity and the well-being of families, MCC and MFC firmly oppose the legalization of commercial surrogacy arrangements where consideration is paid to surrogate mothers in exchange for serving as a surrogate.

“Surrogacy commodifies women’s bodies, reduces children to mere products, and creates a system ripe for exploitation and abuse,” said Rebecca Delahunt, Director of Public Policy for the Minnesota Family Council. “By legalizing surrogacy, we risk devaluing the inherent dignity of both women and children, treating them as objects to be bought and sold.  Women are not for rent and children are not for sale.”

Surrogacy arrangements can happen in Minnesota, but currently occur in an extra-legal environment where courts have no duty to uphold them. The fertility industry is seeking a legal framework that would ensure surrogacy contracts are enforced and more legal certainty is present so that Minnesota can enter fully into the global surrogacy marketplace.

“We understand and empathize with the pain of those who are struggling with infertility and the desire to have a child. But surrogacy arrangements often perpetrate more injustices, such as eugenic practices and the exploitation of women,” said Jason Adkins, Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. “Right now, in Minnesota, there are hundreds of kids in our foster system waiting to be adopted, and many more under state guardianship. We hope prospective parents considering commercial surrogacy would open their hearts to adoption.”

Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Anoka) and Rep. Harry Niska (R-Ramsey) introduced three amendments supported by MCC and MFC that would not ban surrogacy, but limit its most harmful impacts, including a bill based on the findings of the 2016 Legislative Surrogacy Commission in which Rep. Scott was a participant. Other amendments would have banned paid surrogacy agreements, as well as required U.S. citizenship or residence and a genetic connection to the child as protections against human trafficking. 

Despite being pitched as a bill based on best practices, the legislation lacks some of the safeguards present in surrogacy legislation in other states, such as a ban on women with intellectual disabilities serving as surrogates, a ban on traditional surrogacy arrangements where the surrogate’s egg is used, and requirements for intended parents to be married.

Surrogacy raises serious concerns about the rights and welfare of all parties involved, which is why Pope Francis recently called for a global ban on the practice. Women serving as surrogates often face physical, emotional, and psychological risks, with little to no legal protection or recourse. Children born through surrogacy may experience identity issues and a sense of disconnect from their biological origins. The financial incentives involved in surrogacy arrangements can incentivize coercion and exploitation, particularly of economically vulnerable women.

This legislation misses the mark by failing to ensure justice and dignity for Minnesota women and children.