Louisiana surrogate pregnancy bill stirs controversy - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Louisiana surrogate pregnancy bill stirs controversy

A bill looking to set legal guidelines the surrogate process is stirring up controversy. Both liberal and conservative groups, are against the bill.

Over 1,000 American babies are born each year through surrogacy pregnancies. That's when an arrangement is made for a woman to carry and deliver a baby for someone else. Now lawmakers want to regulate the process.  

In Louisiana, surrogacy contracts are not legally enforceable. That's why democratic State Senator Gary Smith of Lake Charles and his wife used an out of state surrogate to become parents. His experience led him to write Senate Bill 162.  

"There are no laws in books that regulate surrogates. So what this is doing is putting some rules and regulations for gestation surrogacy," said Smith, his proposed law would protect all involved with a surrogacy pregnancy. But when it comes down to the fine print, only very specific types of people would be legally protected. That is what's raising the eyebrows of Adrienne Critcher, she's the political director of people acting for change and equality or PACE.

"There are guidelines that are needed, but it's really not well thought out," said Critcher. The surrogate would have to live in Louisiana, be at least 25 years old, and not be a first time mother. As for the parents, they must be able to provide their own genetic material to make a baby, ruling out infertile couples. The couple must also be married, and in Louisiana, only a man and woman can get married.

"That's why this bill is alarming to my organization, its discriminating against gay people and having a family," said Critcher.
Sen. Smith admits the legislation has some of the strictest surrogacy regulations in the country. "Yes, it's very tightly drawn, but I think it's in line with our conservative natures here in Louisiana."   

PACE isn't the only organization against the bill. The Conservative Louisiana Family Forum, The Center for Medical Ethics and the National Organization of Women oppose it, but for ethical reasons not sexual equality.  "With all of the opposition to the  bill, it shows it's not very well thought out, it's a very clumsy bill and just doesn't make very good sense," said Critcher. 

The bill with the changes the house added, will head back to the Senate on May 27th.

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