Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Victory & Defeat: Senate Passes Surrogacy Bill Without Surrogacy

Just before the 5 o'clock deadline on Tuesday afternoon, the State Senate passed HB 1267 by a vote of 27-21 making significant modifications to the state's "uniform" parentage law.

However, an amendment passed by the Senate gutted the most controversial portion of the bill which would have authorized contract surrogacy. However, the bill will still remove the words "mother" and "father" from state law in favor of "parent" and make other revisions that move Washington further away from the expectation that children should be born with a mother and father.

Therefore, the passage of the bill was simultaneously a victory and a defeat.

However, this issue is not resolved. The House and Senate must pass identical bills. Therefore, because the Senate made substantial changes to the bill, it must return to the House. The House will have the opportunity to concur with the amendments passed by the Senate or refuse to concur and send it back to the Senate.

If the House agrees to the amendments, the bill will go to the Governor where it will almost certainly be signed. If the House does not agree to the amendments, the Senate would have the opportunity to withdraw their amendments and vote on the bill as passed by the House.

The sponsors of this bill are not accepting today's Senate vote as defeat, however. Prime sponsor Jamie Pedersen told the Seattle Times, "To get us to the point where we needed to be to move out of the Senate, we needed to retreat - I hope temporarily - on surrogacy," the Seattle Democrat said Tuesday evening. "The bill and subject matter are now eligible to be discussed until the [April 24] end of session."

You are urged to:

  • Pray that the House and Senate cannot reach agreement on this issue and that the entire bill dies;
  • Contact your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them contracts are for selling cars and houses, not kids.

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