Thursday, March 3, 2011

Paid Surrogacy Bill Passes House

By Rebecca Faust

The Washington State House of Representatives passed HB 1267, which would overhaul Washington's parentage laws, on Monday, February 28th. HB 1267 has now been referred to the Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations, and Elections Committee.

HB 1267 would permit paid surrogacy arrangements, where an infertile or same-sex couple can hire a woman to have a baby and give it to them. HB 1267 would also change who the law presumes to be the parents of a child. If passed, the state would presume that children can be born with two parents of the same sex. This is even without assisted reproduction: there are also provisions in the bill to specifically address who the parents are when a child is conceived with assisted reproduction.

There were many proposed amendments, however most of them were rejected. Debate centered around the provisions for surrogacy contracts, which would create an exception to the current law against child selling.

Rep. Miloscia expressed strong concerns and asked for additional safeguards to be added to protect surrogate mothers, including a minimum wage and a requirement that medical costs related to the pregnancy be covered by the intended parents. However, the House rejected those changes.

Rep. Pedersen, the bill's prime sponsor, did offer an amendment so that the bill would no longer repeal the law prohibiting use of a child or developmentally disabled woman as a surrogate mother. That amendment was one of the few accepted by the House.

You can find how each representative voted on HB 1267 by visiting the bill's information page. HB 1267 is now in the hands of the Senate. You can send an email to your senator or send them a message by calling the legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000. Email addresses for senators can be found on the legislature's website.

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