What a Tangled Web We Weave Because Gay People Cannot Conceive

Published June 14, 2024

The Stream

After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, it was only a matter of time before legislators found new ways to level the playing field so that couples who were not made to conceive children could have children.

Surrogacy has become a booming industry worldwide for LGTBQ+ couples, with just a handful of states limiting its use. The technology around it developed altruistically: for women to help friends or family members have a baby. Many states, however, have since expanded surrogacy to allow it for any reason, creating a kind of “rent-a-womb” industry in which women are handsomely compensated for the use of their reproductive abilities. (The website GrowingGenerations.com boasts that its surrogates are among the highest paid; its compensation package “offers up to $68,000 for first-time surrogates, with additional benefits of up to $35,000.”

This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives took a huge and unprecedented step toward further chaos: It unanimously passed a bill — 156-0 — which would help mothers sell their children. The state Senate will consider it next, but the schedule has not been determined.

Trafficking Children

Until now, surrogacy agreements have prohibited women from receiving any kind of compensation for carrying their own children to term because they might sell them. The “Parentage Equality Act” (H4672), however, turns that prohibition on its ear.

More troubling still (yes, it gets worse!), the bill allows for a cash transaction to be made after a woman has become pregnant, allowing her to auction off her child to the highest bidder as long as the agreement is cemented before the child is born.

The loose wording of the bill makes things even stickier. It says that “the genetic surrogate is not entitled to any non-expense related compensation paid for acting as a surrogate if the child was not conceived by assisted reproduction” unless the genetic surrogacy agreement says otherwise.

It is easy to imagine that a court could ratify an agreement if a woman has sex with a man instead of using artificial means. As The Federalist’s Patience Griswold has explained, this law “could allow a woman to accept money in exchange for sex as long as she conceives and then relinquishes her parental rights so the father could raise the child — thus combining both prostitution and child trafficking in one terrible clause.”

Fertility Is the New Black

Feminists have long derided women’s fertility, slowly erasing the gift of motherhood. The push for independence from children has severed the bond of mother and child in a way never seen before. Women have come to believe in their children’s dispensability through abortion, infanticide, and abandonment.

But in an ironic turn of events, fertility is now in demand. The inherent sterility of LGTBQ+ relationships, coupled with most people’s overwhelmingly natural desire to parent, has created a new market. But this market won’t help women become better women. It, too, will certainly steer them away from the deep love and desire for motherhood. The Parentage Equality Act offers yet another incentive for women to be terrible mothers, opening the legal door for them to become well-compensated human traffickers of their own children.

Other Effects of the Bill

Gay-rights activists cheered the fact that the bill also officially gets rid of words like “mother” and “father” on birth certificates.

The bill weighs deeply into the complexity of surrogacy, where up to five people can be involved in the process of conceiving, gestating, and parenting a child. A dizzying codification of new names such as “acknowledged parent,” “alleged genetic parent,” “donor,” “genetic surrogate,” “gestational surrogate,” “intended parent” and “presumed parent” have all been added to keep track of the numerous individuals who have contributed, in one form or another, to a child’s life. The bill also allows for anyone who merely “intends to be a parent” to be listed on a birth certificate.

“The Massachusetts ‘Parentage Equality Act’ represents one of the most egregious attacks on women, children, and the family in recent years,” says Emma Waters, a surrogacy expert at The Heritage Foundation. “Under the guise of so-called ‘family building,’ this surrogacy bill openly promotes the buying and selling of children through a radical surrogacy regime which allows anyone — granted they have enough money — to contract with an agency, purchase the necessary egg or sperm, rent a mother’s womb, and buy the child they want. No protections exist for the child’s right to his biological and/or gestational mother; no protections ensure women are not coerced into this violating agreement.”

Carrie Gress, Ph.D., is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she co-directs EPPC’s Theology of Home Project. She earned her doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and is the co-editor at the online women’s magazine Theology of Home.

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