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New Jersey’s Surrogate Motherhood Bill and Its Vicious Opposition

pregnantA proposed New Jersey law would revise the state’s surrogate parenting laws to legalize a new type of surrogacy, called “gestational surrogacy.” A state senate committee report on the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act explains:

A gestational carrier agreement is a written contract pursuant to which a woman agrees to carry and give birth to a child with whom she has no genetic relationship. . . .

Unlike what is now regarded as traditional surrogacy, where a woman is artificially inseminated with the semen of the intended father and gives birth to a child through the use of her own egg, gestational surrogacy is the result of developments in reproductive technology and involves a woman who does not make use of her own egg.

Megan Demarco reports that the bill “provides guidelines for legal contracts between couples and the woman who carries their fertilized egg [and] would allow the intended parents to cover the surrogate’s expenses related to the pregnancy.”

Remarkably, though unsurprisingly, various people and groups want gestational surrogacy outlawed. Demarco notes that “Opponents of the bill run the ideological gamut, from New Jersey Right to Life to the National Organization for Women.” Their main beef is encapsulated by attorney Harold Cassidy: “The exploitation of women if this bill becomes law is unfathomable.” Critics fear that the bill “will create a for-profit business, where ‘brokers’ will make a profit off vulnerable women.”

These busybodies apparently believe that women are incapable of determining what is in their own best interest. They also apparently regard women’s choice to be surrogate mothers for pay as inherently wrong—and brokers (those who help potential parents and surrogates meet each other and work out the details of their agreement) as somehow immoral. Their view, in short, is that women are stupid and profit is evil.

What a stupid and evil worldview some people have.

The fact is that women—whether rich or poor or somewhere in between—are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what is good for their lives. And profiting—making money by providing a good or service that people want—is profoundly moral (unless that good or service is somehow anti-life, which is certainly not the case here).

In this regard, one actual problem with the bill is that it restricts payments to covering surrogates’ expenses. This is immoral. Women have a moral right to charge whatever they see fit for their services. The more money they can get in a free market, the better. Again, profit is moral.

Such agreements are rightfully private, contractual matters that government has no business interfering with. As long as all parties to a contract are consenting adults of sound mind, and no fraud or other rights violations are involved, the government’s job is simply to uphold the contract, not dictate its terms.

Legal restrictions on the freedom of women, brokers, and potential parents violate the rights of all parties involved; throttle the surrogacy market; and retard research, development, and technological advancements that would otherwise help many childless couples to have children of their own.

Still, the bill is a step in the right direction. And those who know this should support it on the grounds that women are capable, individuals have rights, and profit is moral.

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