Bill passes almost unnoticed in pandemic panic
New York state Senator Brad Hoylman accompanied by husband David Sigal, and their daughter Silvia
The state of New York legalized commercial gestational surrogacy this week as part of a budget package affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Commercial surrogacy is either legal or not expressly prohibited, in every US state except New York, Louisiana and Michigan. This bill will allow New York residents to make paid surrogacy contracts as of February 15, 2021.
Gay and infertile couples in the Empire State can now enter into a contract and pay a woman to carry an IVF baby to term.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the measure a political but it was delayed by stubborn opposition from an alliance between feminists and religious organizations who highlighted the potential exploitation of surrogates.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has been pushing commercial surrogacy since 2012. She was delighted with the outcome. “Today, we bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families, while simultaneously enacting the strongest protections in the nation for surrogates,” she said.
The law creates protections for surrogates, “ensuring the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own health care decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy.”
The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Brad Hoylman. “My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy—but we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it,” Hoylman said. “As a gay dad, I’m thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York. The passage of legislation that will help New Yorkers create families is a signal of hope during these dark and uncertain times for our state”.
Kathleen Gallagher, of the New York State Catholic Conference, criticized the inclusion of surrogacy in a budget bill during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We simply do not believe that such a critical legal and moral decision for our state should have been made behind the closed doors of a Capitol shut off to the public,” she said. “The new law is bad for women and children, and the process is terrible for democracy.”
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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