Surrogate Mothers’ Rights

surrogate mother's rights

Surrogate Mothers’ Rights

A recent story in the news led me down the rabbit hole of surrogacy and its dangers.

Brittney Pearson

Brittney Pearson’s interview is posted on the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network website.

In summary, Brittney contracted with an unnamed gay couple to be their surrogate.  At 25 weeks, Brittney was diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy would endanger baby so Brittney found a hospital that would deliver the baby early.

The paying couple demanded she get an abortion because they didn’t want an unhealthy baby. Brittney didn’t want to kill the baby, and proposed giving birth and placing baby for adoption.

Paying couple said they didn’t want “their DNA out there” and instructed hospital to NOT to save the baby if born. They also demanded death certificate.

Baby was born, and died shortly after.

Brittney Did Not Want to Abort, Proposed Placing into Adoption

The first question I had was: can surrogate mothers be forced to abort the baby against their will for any reason?  In reading a Sample Surrogacy Contract I found on-line, the answer is not for any reason, but  yes under medical circumstances as spelled out in contract.

Whether or not they can demand the abortion, they DID pressure her and threaten her with lawsuits.  I would imagine this was super stressful during cancer treatment, while pregnant. It probably made her feel like she was just a “rented womb”, and less than human.

The second question I had was: can the baby even survive being delivered at 25 weeks?  The answer is yes – but with life-saving care.  I know what you’re thinking, and I googled it for you: What is the most premature baby to have survived?)

Answer: His name is Curtis, and he was born at a gestational age of 21 weeks 1 day (148 days) at around 1 p.m. on July 5, 2020.

Couple Ordered NO Life Saving Measures to Be Performed on Baby

The third question I had was: Does the paying couple have the right to withhold life-saving care?  Bascially, can they demand that the hospital let the baby die?

Via Evie Magazine: “Surrogacy laws in California offered no rights to Pearson or the baby… as soon as the child was born, the purchasing couple immediately had legal “ownership” of the baby boy—and they demanded that life-saving care be withheld from the child.”

The baby died shortly after he was born.

Why Not Adoption?

Attached is a screenshot of the email sent by Pearson’s aunt to the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.

In it, she writes, “So far I’ve learned my niece knows, ‘They can’t force her to abort’ but once baby is ‘out’ then baby is property (ew, I can’t even stomach typing that) of dna parents and they don’t want to give baby any life saving care.  Basically my niece says she has to get baby out and watch it die…They’d rather watch…their baby die than allow it to be saved as best as possible and given to a family.'”

Brittney Pearson Email
Brittney Pearson Email
Couple Also Demanded Cremation and Death Certificate

The baby was born, and died shortly afterwards.  The paying couple ordered fetus’ remains to be cremated.

Theye also insisted on having a death certificate.

Jennifer Lahl, of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, says that it is unclear why they wanted a death certificate. She speculated that it may have been to avoid making a final payment to Ms. Pearson, since she had not handed a live baby over to them.

Dangers of Commercial Surrogacy: Dehumanization

I normally don’t think about surrogacy – my staff refers out any cases that touch upon that topic.

However, after reading Brittney’s story, and doing some research, I fear that commercial surrogacy has an extremely dark side: the dehumanization of children and mothers.

The belief that children can be “purchased” and then “disposed” of for any reason is just as noxious as the belief that women can be treated as “rented wombs”.

Has our culture come to this – that we can order kids?  That women can be mistreated as “baby carriers”, and if they get cancer and need chemo, you can threaten them with lawsuits if they don’t do what you want them to do?

Social Surrogacy

Surrogacy used to be reserved for the medically  needy.  Then evolved social surrogacy.

“Social surrogacy” is when people use a surrogate without having medical need to do so.

Isn’t social surrogacy just “paying” someone for the “inconvenience” of being pregnant?

According to this article titled, “Having a child doesn’t fit into these women’s schedule’: is this the future of surrogacy?,  US doctors are seeing an increase in patients avoiding pregnancy or time off work by paying someone else to carry their baby – with no medical need to do so.

If You Can So Easily Buy It, Why Can’t You Return It?

Recently, my office received some messages from an anonymous person (possible troll) who apparently paid for a child using a surrogate, and then no longer wanted the child.

couple doesn't want their surrogate baby anymore
couple doesn’t want their surrogate baby anymore


I’ll be honest – these messages made me feel the way I did when I first learned about abortion contracts. 

Abortion contracts are where the father pays the mother money to abort the baby.  My staff told me someone once called and said she was offered 1 million dollars for an abortion.  I didn’t need details; it made me queasy.

We referred it out.

are abortion contracts legal


Queasy.  Same way I felt learning about in-vitro gametogenesis, which is the making babies from ANY cell (not just sperm and egg).

Children are Not Property

As I’ve stated before, children are not property.  They are gifts from God; never to be bought or sold. (Psalms 127:3-5)

Humans are made in the image of God.  NONE of us are replaceable; we are each precious in His sight.

How We Respect Life is the Over-riding Moral Issue

In all this research, I came across an article by Jesse Jackson in Right to Life News, 1977 How We Respect Life is the Overriding Issue.

Even though he allegedly changed his position later, it is a powerful essay that is worth reading.

Some gems:

“How we will respect and understand the nature of life itself is the over-riding moral issue, not of the Black race, but of the human race.”

“Human beings cannot give or create life by themselves, it is really a gift from God. Therefore, one does not have the right to take away (through abortion) that which he does not have the ability to give.”

“Some argue, suppose the woman does not want to have the baby. They say the very fact that she does not want the baby means that the psychological damage to the child is reason enough to abort the baby’. I disagree.  The solution to that problem is not to kill the innocent baby, but to deal with her values and her attitude toward life that which has allowed her not to want the baby.  Deal with the attitude that would allow her to take away that which she cannot give.

“Some women argue that the man does not have the baby and will not be responsible for the baby after it is born, therefore it is all right to kill the baby. Again the logic is off. The premise is that the man is irresponsible.

“If that is the problem, then deal with making him responsible. Deal with what you are dealing with, not with the weak, innocent and unprotected baby. The essence of Jesus’ message dealt with this very problem — the problem of the inner attitude and motivation of a person. “If in your heart . . .” was his central message. The actual abortion (effect) is merely the logical conclusion of a prior attitude (cause) that one has toward life itself. Deal with the cause not merely the effect when abortion is the issue.”

“In conclusion, even if one does take life by aborting the baby, as a minister of Jesus Christ I must also inform and-or remind you that there is a doctrine of forgiveness. The God I serve is a forgiving God.  The men who killed President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can be forgiven.

“Everyone can come to the mercy seat and find forgiveness and acceptance.  But, and this may be the essence of my argument, suppose one is so hard-hearted and so in-different to life until he assumes that there is nothing for which to be forgiven.”

“What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience?”

“What kind of a person, and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually?”

Below is the image I credit for transforming me and renewing my mind about the issue of abortion.  (I too used to conform to the pattern of this pro-choice, pro-self world.)

my body, my choice
baby lives matter


Children Cannot Be Bought or Sold, Canceled or Returned

I liked this quote by Katherine Drabiak, JD (Associate Professor at the University of South Florida College of Public Health and College of Medicine) in her blog post, Infants Born Through Surrogacy Contracts Cannot Be Canceled or Returned.

She writes: “These rare cases suggest some parents view both the surrogate and fetus or infant through the lens of Amazon culture: market products to order, control, cancel, or return when the products fail to meet our expectations. But children do not come with a satisfaction or return policy; they are not fungible or disposable.

Termination clauses in surrogacy contracts categorize both surrogates and children as conditionally precious: surrogates are a blessing (only when they obey); and children are a gift (but only the right kind: disability-free, not too many, and not an inconvenient tie to a former romantic partner).

Termination clauses shatter the boundaries of ordinary parental obligations and expectations, and they constitute the very essence of dehumanization and detachment.”

Pray For Wisdom and Discernment

The world is loud and proud, but God created us and speaks to us through our conscience.

If you are exploring surrogacy or abortion, please pray about it.

When you feel a pause, listen. Your Creator is speaking.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139)

Also, do some research online.  I really enjoyed learning about Center for Bioethics and Culture Network and what they do.  (They were the ones that broke the story about Brittney Pearson).

Their focus is on 2 main issues: Making Life and Faking Life.  So interesting!

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