By Rebecca Faust
The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections voted to recommend passage of House Bill 1267 on Tuesday, March 22nd. If enacted, HB 1267 would make numerous changes to Washington's Uniform Parentage Act, including the legalization of paid surrogacy.
HB 1267 is rife with opportunities for abuse. It not only allows a surrogate mother to be paid for giving her child, but it eliminates criminal penalties for violating surrogacy laws and requires that if a surrogacy contract doesn't meet statutory requirements, custody of the child will be awarded on the basis of the parties' intent and not the best interests of the child. So whatever safeguards it does provide, which for the most part seem to be more about protecting the surrogate and intended parents than the child, have limited enforceability.
The committee voted down several proposed amendments to the bill, which is now in the hands of the Senate Rules Committee to decide whether to schedule it for debate in the full Senate.
If you have not already done so, please contact your senator and ask him or her to oppose this bill. You can call the legislative hotline to leave a message for your senator, or you can find contact information for individual senators on the legislature's website. The legislative hotline phone number is: 1-800-562-6000.