More State Legislatures Looking at Surrogacy Laws

More State Legislatures Looking at Surrogacy Laws

New York and Washington, DC are two of just a few states that outlaw commercial surrogacy and are considering new legislation that would allow women and couples to pay a third party to carry a child for them.

In Washington, DC, Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the Collaborative Reproduction Act of 2015, calling the nation’s capital “out of step” with its own commitment to family and equality. Allen says his proposed statute includes input from a broad spectrum of interests, such as the Family Equality Council and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

In New York, legislators are waiting for recommendations from a task force, looking at whether they should overturn former governor Mario Cuomo’s 1992 ban on commercial surrogacy. State Senator Brad Hoylman, an openly gay father thanks to surrogacy, has introduce a bill that would allow surrogacy agreements in the state. Opponents argue that nothing has changed since the 1992 ban and the laws should stay as they are. They contend that allowing commercial surrogacy transforms children into products to be bought and sold.

Currently, there is little uniformity in state laws governing surrogacy contracts. Eight states expressly permit the practice, including Oregon, which has become a destination for individuals and couples worldwide to travel to enter into an agreement with a gestational surrogate. Other states allowing surrogacy include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada and Rhode Island. California even allows the parties to avoid any adoption proceedings.

Aside from New York and DC, three other states specifically ban the practice, New Jersey, Michigan and Washington state. Lawmakers in New Jersey approved a commercial surrogacy law last June, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill, saying he was not satisfied with how legislators had dealt with the details of the practice.

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