If New Jersey Senate Bill 1599 outlining “gestational carrier agreements” becomes law, women and babies will be commodities for sale in the Garden State. The bill passed the New Jersey Senate on May 31, 2012, and the Assembly on June 21, 2012. It is now up to the citizens of New Jersey to tell Gov. Chris Christie to veto this horrendous bill.
The bill authorizes “gestational carrier agreements” between “gestational carrier” (women who are single, married, in a civil union or a domestic partnership) and the “intended parent” (who could be a single man, a single woman, a husband and wife, partners in a civil union, partners in a domestic partnership or couples who are not married, in a civil union or a domestic partnership) in order to create a baby with potentially donated eggs from an unrelated woman and potentially donated sperm from an unrelated man.
Think of all the possible combinations involved in these “agreements.” There will be cases where the lab-created baby will have no DNA relationship with the “intended parents” or with the “gestational carrier.” Senate Bill 1599 amounts to babies for order and sale.
The “gestational carrier” is required by these agreements to hand over the child immediately after the birth to the “intended parents.” There is no clause that protects the baby if perhaps it comes to light the “intended parents” are dangerous or a potential threat to the child. In an ironic twist, the bill states that one of its purposes is to “[E]stablish consistent standards and procedural safeguards to promote the best interests of the children who will be born as a result of gestational carrier agreements …” How is it in the best interests of a child to grow up knowing they were crafted as a science experiment, grown in a stranger’s womb and handed over to people who paid for them?
The term “gestational carrier” is dehumanizing and insulting to women. There is no mention of women or mothers; it’s as if men could carry a baby to term so there must be a gender-neutral, sanitized term. In fact, it could be any mammal with a womb. How soon until there are ads on Craigslist proclaiming, “Wombs for Rent?”
What group of women will be the most likely to enter into “gestational carrier agreements” as the “carriers?” Do you think it will be wealthy, married women willing to carry a baby to term for a poor woman, or do you think it will be poor, single women who see the possibility of earning $40,000-$60,000 for carrying a baby to term? Do you see the potential of human traffickers exploiting this situation and using women as breeders? You should because it would be a very profitable venture for those who earn millions from exploiting human beings. The “agreements” even cover reasonable expenses, so traffickers wouldn’t even have any overhead.
Do you see the potential of child molesters using this “gestational carrier agreement” to get their hands on their very own lab-created child? According to provisions in the “agreements” once the baby is out of the birth canal and the umbilical cord is cut, the child is legally the property, which is the appropriate word for these “agreements”, of the “intended parents.”
The true intention of this bill is to please the people wealthy enough to pay for a baby to be made-to-order for them. The fact that anyone can enter into these agreements with no thought as to the research that shows the best environment for a child is a household consisting of a married mother and father is a recipe for disaster. To recap, it is like a recipe: mix an egg and sperm, implant a gamete in a womb, monitor growth, wait nine months, remove baby from protected, temperature-controlled environment, give to strangers who paid for the baby and hope it all turns out okay.
What could go wrong in this brave new world? When one of these children asks, “Where did I come from?” what will be the answer? Who cares as long as there are people who can afford to pay for a womb and get what they want, a baby.
ACTION ITEM: If you are a resident of New Jersey, please call Governor Christie’s office at (609) 292-6000 and tell him to veto this bill.