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Proposed Ban on Surrogacy Is Just Another Assault on Women’s Rights

Proposed Ban on Surrogacy Is Just Another Assault on Women’s Rights

In case you thought red states couldn’t get their hands any deeper into women’s vaginas, think again.

You see, last week the Kansas legislature turned into a damn circus – if circuses included public sonograms, that is. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, state senator Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook introduced a bill that would ban surrogacy in the state and had two women get sonograms in front of her fellow legislators.

I literally have no idea what conservatives in Kansas want me to do. They’re really going out of their way to eliminate access to abortion, and now they don’t want me to get pregnant on purpose to make some other person or people happy? What is their deal?

On Monday the Public Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony, so now we do know what their deal actually is. And surprise! It’s control over a woman’s body.

The language that was used was strikingly similar to some of the language we often hear from anti-choice activists. Women are such delicate flowers that we can’t have them making decisions about what they do with their bodies.

“Surrogacy undermines the dignity of women, children and human reproduction,” said Jennifer Lahl, a pediatric nurse who is now president of the California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture. “Consider deeply what is at stake for the dignity of women and what is in truly the best interest of the children.”

You see? They’re just worried about women and children! It undermines their dignity. Never mind that treating someone with dignity means letting them make their own choices. Never mind that parents who have to go to such great effort to have a child will probably actually want that child. Everyone knows that if you say something enough times it automatically becomes true.

The bill had its detractors, too. Testimony was given by a couple called Andrew and Kelsey Marske. They brought their 6-week-old twins, who happened to be born via surrogate. Kelsey was born with only a partial uterus. An adoption attorney even testified, saying that there are, indeed, protections in place for women acting as surrogates.

Martin Bauer, a Wichita attorney who’s specialized in adoptions for 30 years, said Kansas law already protects women serving as surrogates from being exploited. He said adoption laws limit couples to reimbursing a birth mother for her expenses, and in the 1990s, the attorney general issued a legal opinion that the same restrictions apply to surrogacy.

Perhaps if this hearing were geared toward getting those protections in the Kansas statutes, it wouldn’t be a waste of taxpayer money. But it’s not about that. It’s just another way for conservatives to keep women from determining what they do with their lives and fertility. If it weren’t, then we’d see the use of a scalpel, not a wrecking ball. There are, apparently, only two ways to be properly pregnant: first, in the confines of marriage where it is 100 percent, all the time a happy occurrence, and if it’s not then you’re an evil person; or, second, as punishment for being a whore. And those people who desperately want a child of their own? Tough.

Since this is Kansas, a legislative hearing wouldn’t be complete without someone saying something completely off-the-wall bananas. In this case, it was Pilcher-Cook, the sponsor of this bill. She said that surrogacy is “creating a child that you know is purposely not going to have either a biological mother, biological father or both.”

Wow. A person with no biological mother or father. Either Pilcher-Cook is privy to some pretty cutting edge science, or she’s just spouting nonsense. I’m going with spouting nonsense.

Luckily, the Kansas GOP doesn’t seem to be in lockstep on this issue. The state senate president and vice president both came out against the measure. The senate president even said, “Criminalizing surrogate mothers is not a priority of this Legislature.”

Oooooooo government bureaucracy burn!

In the end, this is just another assault on the reproductive rights of the women of Kansas. It’s another opportunity for the state to insert itself into the private decisions of its citizens and interfere with their happiness. I can’t say I’m not surprised.

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Photo Credit: Agnes Yves via Flickr

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145 comments

+ add your own
9:54AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook needs to give this some more thought.
If a woman is willing to put her body through pregnancy to help another family have a baby - what seems to be the problem??? Some women like being pregnant, some women can't.

5:21PM PST on Feb 9, 2014

This one has me confused. It sounds like the typical psycho babble that the repubs do however at the end of the article it states that " the Kansas GOP doesn’t seem to be in lockstep on this issue. The state senate president and vice president both came out against the measure. The senate president even said, “Criminalizing surrogate mothers is not a priority of this Legislature.”

So who is actually behind this one?

If you think about it, surrogacy is no different than adoption. Both ways the child is away from the bio-mom. How is that so terrible? Cases of abuse, drugs, etc. They are both taken into homes and arms of people who want them and care for them. Why is it people think leaving a kid up for adoption is acceptable and surrogacy is so dirty? Surrogacy is someone giving of themselves to help make a family for another couple. I feel it is special and noble. It is a big sacrifice for someone to be a surrogate.

And, yes, I know my wording is probably backward or sounds calous but it's not meant to be. The comments previously made about how horrid it would be for a baby not to have a mommy - they do have a mom, it is just not biological. No different than step-mom, adopted mom. And for those pushing anti-abortion, don't be surprised when the number of kids up for adoption sky rockets.

And yes, sometimes moms fail.

3:11PM PST on Feb 6, 2014

Stay out of our wombs!!! You are not qualified to swat a fly.

12:35PM PST on Feb 6, 2014

Of course it would be an assault on womens rights!!!!

9:48AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Ingrid, since you've no profile, I don't know where you live...but I can tell you surrogacy is NOT a matter of shame or ridicule here and I can't imagine anyone being embarrassed to have it known they were born through surrogacy.

People born to loving parents are generally happy to be alive and surrogacy is just another way to manage that process.

6:45AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Get your laws off my body and out of women's vagina's. The WACKO GOP and Tea Baggers are behind this.

3:15AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Hello and thank you.
I think to make such delicate and important decision impacting future children lives and us all in future, as we all are human been, needs inquiry of children born this way. As they have right to say does they want to be born this way or not. It seems still tabu to admit that you are surrogate child, why when it is not a big deal? As motherhood are valued deeply, not all women are capable to be the mother in reality. And woman selling her child is something to fight against not of because she does it but because she wants it. In some countries we are facing already tendency to go to the doctor and say:" Hi, I want this woman's child can you organize it for me?"

Sincerely,

Ingrid arro Haehnle

11:25PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Personally I find adoption a much better option (reduces overpopulation and gives a child a home) but I don't see what's the big deal if a woman carries my baby for me because I can't do it myself. Who is it hurting?! Nobody! Is it 'unnatural'? So is blood transfusion and organ transplant. How about we stop doing that, too?

6:59AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Is that the best objection you can find, Juaharah? Because it makes no sense. What about money spent toward medical procedures which enable conception? Does THAT equate to ''paying'' for a life?

10:52AM PST on Feb 2, 2014

Linda M
“Shan & Carole, not all people want kids & with that attitude it is probably best that such people do not. Some may say that is selfish but I believe the opposite is true. I think selfishness is NEEDING to replicate yourself because you think you're "all that" or because your parents want them.”

I know I would have resented any children born to me, which is why I chose not to have children. I agree with what you sai.d.

Jauharah A.
“Seems to me that surrogacy is paying for a human life and I thought that was illegal.”

adoption is paying for a human life.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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