The practice of surrogate parenting has made human life a marketable commodity. In a surrogate arrangement, a couple enlists the womb of a woman for predetermined fees, she carried the baby (a product) for nine months, and then releases the baby to the couple. Such contracts often provide for medical and other expenses related to the surrogate pregnancy as well as compensation for the services rendered; i.e., the production of a healthy, desirable child. Also, included may be criteria for acceptance of the child under the contract.
Regardless of the moral, ethical, or legal considerations surrounding those who enter into surrogate parenting contracts, Right to Life of Michigan opposes surrogate parenting because the life of the child so conceived may be threatened as a result of the contractual agreement.
Abortion is likely to be used to insure that the child meets the contractual criteria. The purchasing couple may be happy with a perfect baby, but what happens if a couple learns that the baby is “imperfect” before birth? (Amniocentesis and other prenatal testing procedures are often used to seek out an “imperfect” unborn child. Assuredly, “quality control” will be achieved through abortion. Some surrogate contracts even provide for prenatal testing and agreements to abortion if disabilities are detected.) It is even possible to specify in a contract the right sex of a surrogate parented child; the “wrong” sex can simply be aborted. The unborn child has no protection – the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision invalidates all attempts to save the life of the unborn child that fails to meet contractual criteria.
Infanticide will likely be considered in instances of a handicapped child’s birth. If the unborn child escapes detection and upon birth does not meet “perfection” standards, there is a threat that even necessary medical treatment (food and drink) will be withdrawn from the innocent life. As seen in the Indiana Baby Doe case, withdrawal of treatment (infanticide) is a reality when a baby fails to meet parental expectations.
The surrogate mother is victimized. The hired mother, whose genetic contribution is 50 percent of the end product becomes a warehousing agent. Often the subliminal force behind a woman’s decision to “rent her womb” is attaining money to relieve financial stress. Truly, she is victimized. Her body is used. The practice of surrogate parenting has made human life a marketable product, and this should not be. Born and unborn children are precious and must be protected. In the surrogate arrangement, there are no guarantees that the defenseless child will be protected.
A 1979 March of Dimes survey showed that, in 97 percent of the cases where the amniocentesis test showed the unborn child was “imperfect,” abortion was chosen.
The potential for the destruction of children of surrogate parenting arrangements by abortion or infanticide impels Right to Life of Michigan to stand firm in opposition to surrogate parenting.