Surrogacy, which used to not be permitted in Louisiana, will soon be legal. While certainly not perfect (the bill only allows heterosexual couples to participate in surrogacy), this bill is a least a start. Read on for more information:
Both of the Louisiana Legislature’s chambers have passed legislation regulating surrogacy births in the state. Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a similar bill in 2013 but indicated in recent months he would approve the measure if it made some concessions that lawmakers tried to incorporate this go-round.
Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, sponsored the legislation, which allows couples and woman to enter into a surrogacy birth relationship. Surrogacy allows a couple to have a child that is biologically their own, but carried to term by a third party.
The Senate passed the bill 22-11.
Currently, no one who sets up a contract governing a surrogacy in Louisiana can get it enforced in local courts. Lopinto’s bill would only allow surrogacy contracts between a married couple of opposite sexes and a woman between the age of 24 and 35 years old who has given birth previously. Other arrangements would be illegal.
Lopinto initially introduced a bill that was far more permissive of surrogacy arrangements, but he amended the legislation to reflect concerns of the conservative Christian community.
If enacted, the proposal would allow a fairly narrow range of surrogacy contracts to be legally enforced. It would also prohibit a couple from financially compensating a woman carrying their child outside of associated medical bills, unless she is unable to work because of the pregnancy.
Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River spoke against the bill from the Senate floor Tuesday. “I believe is would be bad public policy for us to pass a law to change 200 years of Louisiana public policy that could potentially encourage young single women to get pregnant out of wedlock,” he said.
Jindal’s veto followed vocal objections from conservative Christians and the Catholic Church. Lopinto hopes his bill the governor will feel more comfortable signing his more restrictive legislation into law.
The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops has continued to object to any legislation that permits surrogacy, including Lopinto’s currently bill. But the organization acknowledged that Lopinto’s current proposal is better than the one the legislator originally introduced.
The bill will go back to the House to consider some minor changes made on the Senate floor but will likely make it to the governor’s desk.