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Bill To Allow Compensated Surrogacy In Washington State Is Gutted

Disappointing news out of Washington where a bill that would have permitted compensated surrogacy was emasculated to the point that it no longer will permit compensated surrogacy:

Senate Democrats are ending their effort to legalize surrogacy amid a swirl of politics inside their caucus and over the budget. Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, is proposing to amend a bill on parenting by striking provisions that would all surrogate mothers to get paid for the babies they deliver. “Right now we don’t have the votes for the surrogacy portion and I find that incredibly sad,” Nelson said this morning.

Not having at least 25 votes in the caucus was only one obstacle. Senate Republicans posed the other. They had made clear if Democrats pushed for surrogacy, the fallout would be felt in the ongoing budget talks. Later today, the state Senate plans to release what caucus leaders deem a bipartisan spending plan. “If the bill would have gone forward without some of the amendments we proposed it could have disrupted the collegial nature with which we’ve been working on the budget,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla.

House Democrats approved a bill allowing women to sign contracts with intended parents that would pay them “reasonable compensation” plus medical, legal and ancillary costs associated with the pregnancy. The Senate is expected to pass the stripped-down version before a 5 p.m. cut-off for action on nonbudget bills. Then it gets sent back to the House.

Rep. Jamie Pederson, D-Seattle, the author of the original bill, left the door open to re-attaching the surrogacy provisions. “Our process has a lot of steps,” he said. “Getting this bill out of the Senate by cut-off is the right step right now.”

Social conservatives fought hard against the bill and lauded the change of course as a victory. “Everybody wins when you don’t make the womb and children subjects of a commercial transaction,” Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Lynnwood-based Family Policy

Everybody wins, Mr. Backholm? Not the 1 in 6 couples who are suffering from infertility, many of whom can only become parents if permitted to use a surrogate. My guess is that Mr. Backholm will leave work this afternoon and return home to his family. The same cannot be said for many infertility patients in Washington who must continue to look to states like California to keep their dreams of starting a family alive.


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