Here is a story that contained some statements that surprised me.
But before I start talking about the statements that surprised me, I want to emphasize something for my readers from the left: The things that I find outrageous in this story are being reported by people who do not think they are outrageous. In fact, the one I think the most outrageous is a claim being made by a Canadian who thinks that the U.S. does things "better" in this respect than Canada. So let's please not have any nonsense about conservative "lies," conservative "hysteria," and conservatives who uncritically pass on other conservatives' "lies" and "hysteria."
Okay, moving on:
A Canadian treating doctor reports, keeping names confidential, that he has had a couple and a surrogate mother involved in a dispute in which the couple wanted the surrogate mother to abort the child because it was suspected of the capital crime of having Down Syndrome. The surrogate at first refused. The surrogacy contract evidently specified that under these circumstances the biological parents (the "commissioning" couple) would have no responsibility for the child. So in the end, the surrogate aborted the child because of her own "family responsibilities." In other words, as I take it, she hadn't bargained for getting saddled with raising a handicapped child who wasn't biologically her own, in addition to her own children, so she gave in to the pressure and had the child aborted.
There is, however, some question as to whether such a contract (a "contract" on a child found to be handicapped) would actually have been enforceable in Canada. In other words, the biological parents might have had to take responsibility for the child regardless of what the contract said. But the surrogate decided not to push it.
In response to the possibility that the contract would have been unenforceable in Canada, we get this mature and penetrating bit of ethical commentary from one Sally Rhoads (emphasis added):
Sally Rhoads, of Surrogacy in Canada Online, said decisions pertaining to the future of a defective fetus should be made at the outset. Furthermore, she argued for the protection of the commissioning couple. 'The baby that's being carried is their baby. It's usually their genetic offspring', she said. 'Why should the intended parents be forced to raise a child they didn't want? It's not fair'. Ms Rhoads points to the United States where, in some states, the commissioning couple can sue the surrogate to recover costs if the surrogate continues with a pregnancy against the couple's wishes.
You got that? Supposedly, according to Ms. Rhoads, America is more enlightened than Canada, because in some states in America the biological parents who have contracted to rent a womb can sue to get back money they've already paid out if they change their minds and want the child aborted. I suppose if the carrying mother has already recklessly spent the money on anything like food, clothing, or prenatal care, she's out of luck, plus having a little baby of her own on the way. Charming, no?
I've tried to confirm this statement about the U.S. I found this site on surrogacy law in the U.S., but I could find nowhere in the links where the site addressed this particular issue, having (shall we say) other legal priorities. However, I should point out that as far as I can tell even the many states that have no express law on surrogacy on the books could easily elect to treat surrogacy as merely a branch of contract law, in which case such heinous contracts as Ms. Rhoads loves might indeed be enforceable. Obviously, it's going to be very difficult to follow up on her remarks without further specifics on the states she has in mind out of all the fifty and on the case law or statutory law she has in mind.
On the assumption that Rhoads is right about at least some states, this seems to me to be a loophole that pro-life lawmakers in the states should get on to right away. Not being a lawyer, I don't know how simple it would be to fix, but here's a suggestion for starters:
No contract shall be enforceable within this state if said contract requires any person to agree to the termination of a pregnancy or contains any contractual forfeiture, penalty, or provision for recovery of costs in consideration of a refusal to terminate a pregnancy.
Meanwhile, I'll only add: So much for being pro-choice, Ms. Rhoads. I wonder how often she has said she's in favor of a woman's right to control her own body.
HT: Secondhand Smoke