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Assisted Reproduction

Lawmakers in Kansas Debate Bill That Would Criminalize Surrogacy

Republican Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook who introduced the bill. (photo credit: AP)

Republican Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook who introduced the bill. (photo credit: AP)

Legislators in Kansas on Monday debated a bill that would criminalize surrogate motherhood.Republican Senator, Mary Pilcher-Cook (pictured above) who is the chairwoman of the Senate Public Health Welfare Committee introduced the bill.

The bill proposed that any individual involved in the creation of a surrogacy arrangement in Kansas would be guilty of a misdemeanour crime, punishable by way of a fine up to $10,000 and a one year custodial sentence.

Pilcher-Cook’s bill declared that surrogacy contracts should be viewed as “against public policy and such contracts shall be void and unenforceable.” The Republican Senator last year opined that it was her belief that human life existed when an egg was fertilzed,even when stored cryogenically because the “value of a human being doesn’t depend on their location.”

However, opponents to the bill included former surrogate mothers and physicians. Lynlee Weber who has been a surrogate mother four times, said “Women must be able to decide for themselves if carrying a child for someone else is best for them. Intended parents must be able to decide for themselves if surrogacy is the best way for their child to enter this world.”

Dr David Grainger MD, of the Center for Reproductive Medicine, cited the Bible in support of surrogate pregnancies. “This bill would have criminalized the most important surrogacy pregnancy this world has ever seen. Mary had a verbal contract with Gabriel. She was carrying a pregnancy that was not her husband’s, and she gave that pregnancy back to God after he was born. What a gift.”

Support for the bill has diminished significantly. The measure was introduced on Monday and was due to go into testimony on Tuesday, however it did not survive a second day. Susan Wagle, Senate President, stated her opposition to the bill as did David Haley, a Democratic Senator. Wagle, a Rupublican from Wichita said that “criminalizing surrogate mothers is not a priority of the Legislature”

Pilcher-Cook attracted notoriety last week on the 41st anniversary of Roe -v- Wade by having live ultrasounds performed in front of members of the Kansas Senate’s Committee on Public Health and Welfare.

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