Flawed Gestational Agreement Bill Advances
This session a bill to regulate Gestational Agreements, for making families through surrogacy, has progressed through the Oklahoma legislature. The intent behind the Gestational Agreement bill is wonderful, but because the language doesn’t adequately protect the human rights of surrogates or intended parents, we are calling on the pubic to raise this issue with Oklahoma lawmakers.
In Oklahoma there are no laws governing gestational agreements, but a 1983 opinion by the then Attorney General says paid surrogacy, including even reimbursement for medical expenses, violates the state’s child trafficking laws. Gestational agreements may be a great option for many families, but the complex legal and health issues should be dealt with carefully and inclusively. Primary authors of this bill, Representative Jason Dunnington and Senator Brent Howard, are aware of the major problems with this bill and outright refuse to address them. Other states with similar laws, including California and Utah, have seen lawsuits over surrogate autonomy and LGTB exclusion. In it’s current form the bill has three main problems:
1: (Section 11, B, 4) Language requiring medical proof that the “intended mother” cannot carry a pregnancy could exclude gay couples or single men from using surrogacy in Oklahoma. Because single men or gay male couples are not strictly “mothers,” some judges may reject those intended parents surrogacy agreements. A lawsuit over a similar provision in Utah was filed when a gay couple was denied a gestational agreement by a judge.
2: (Section 7, E, 1-2) Language touching on a surrogates health and wellbeing could give intended parents undue leverage over a surrogate’s choices. We want that language to explicitly protect surrogate’s autonomy in health and wellbeing decisions.
3: (Section 6, B, 4) While a single person may enter into a gestational agreement, couples looking to this option to start a family are required to be married. Couples who are not legally married will have to enter surrogacy agreements with just one of the intended parents, then the second parent must go through the adoption process.
We are grateful to see lawmakers address laws around gestational agreements, but they absolutely must respect the human rights of both those carrying the pregnancies and intended parents. We are eager for Oklahoma families to have more reproductive options, however, we can not create these regulations in a way that would intentionally exclude some families or leave surrogate’s autonomy unprotected.
Contact the following bill authors and committee members to ask that they address all three of these issues before it's heard in Conference Committee:
Dear <ELECTED OFFICIAL TITLE/NAME>,
I’m contacting you to ask that you reject HB 2468, the Gestational Agreement Act, in its current form. I think the intent is good, however, I worry the bill doesn’t fully respect the human rights of both prospective parents and surrogates and I hope you will not support this bill without some amendments.
I have problems with three sections: Sec 6, b, 4 (marriage requirement), Sec 7, e, 1-2 (lack of protection for surrogate’s autonomy), and Sec. 11, b, 4 (exclusion of non-traditional families and men). Please offer amendments to fix this bill or pull HB 2468 all together.
Sincerely, <YOUR NAME>