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Surrogate mother legislation rejected (vetoed)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Craig Green
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Agreements are being made between couples who want to have a child and women who can serve as a surrogate.

A bill that would have established protocols for these arrangements in Minnesota was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Tingelstad (R-Andover) and Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-Mpls), the bill would have provided minimal requirements of any gestational carrier contract; required documentation that there is a medical need; and mandate that both the carrier and the intended parents have had a mental health evaluation and legal counsel. There were also provisions for compensation and health insurance.

Tingelstad said that the bill would “establish consistent standards and safeguards to protect all parties of a surrogacy agreement and to confirm the legal status of a child born as a result of these arrangements.”

In his veto letter, the governor said the bill permitted women being hired as surrogate mothers. “We should encourage to the fullest extent possible surrogacy on the basis of donated services similar to how Minnesota addresses donation of bone marrow and organ donation.”

He also wrote that the bill does not allow the surrogate mother to choose her doctor — this is to be done in consultation with the intended parents — and would not expressly give the surrogate mother the right to refuse a request of the parents to terminate the pregnancy.

“The bill also fails in any manner to recognize or protect the life and rights of the unborn child,” he wrote. Because the unborn child is treated “as a chattel,” in the case of a contract dispute, the court could not apply the “best interest of the child” standard, but rather the court would have to look at the “original intent” of the contract.


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