How to rig a surrogacy hearing so dissenting voices won’t be heard
In the last several weeks, I have had my first legislative experience. For a decade now, I have focused my energy on story-telling, speaking, and publishing articles. I tell the truth—mine and others'—when and where I am invited. My skills don't naturally synch with political strategy, but regarding Louisiana's current surrogacy bill, HB 1102—I feel a great responsibility to share what I've learned and rescue my beloved state before the legislature makes a huge mistake.
I am greatly disappointed by the behavior of the proponents of this bill. They claimed that the provisions in their updated bill would not allow sophisticated people to exploit surrogate mothers (for example, not "allowing" commissioning parents to pay a surrogate to abort)—yet every move they've made thus far proves that sophisticated and powerful people will do whatever it takes to get what they want.
May 4th was the House Floor vote. It passed. The next step— the Senate Committee vote—appeared on the schedule for May 17th, which would have allowed for opposition voices to prepare, organize, and make childcare and travel arrangements to come to the capitol. However, on Monday May 9th at 4 pm, the schedule was changed and the committee hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday May 10th at 9:30 am. This was a shady move that gave opposition less than 18 hours (including sleep) to get it together and have their voice heard.
I knew of at least four experts who were willing and wanting to testify, who could not because of the impossible logistics. This included former Yale professor, President of The Ruth Institute and author of Smart Sex, and Love & Economics, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, as well as Staci Gulino—a psychiatric mental health expert and former labor and delivery nurse specializing in attachment and maternal-infant health. Also wanting to attend and testify were two LA family life experts, David Dawson and Rickard Newman.
I heard about the schedule changes at 7:30 pm, and at 8 months pregnant, and even though my family is in the middle of moving, I woke up at 5 am to drive to Baton Rouge and testify. I was mocked and literally laughed at during my testimony shockingly by Senator Gary Smith—who is the original author of this bill and used two surrogates in order to have his two children with his wife, a long time state lobbyist.
The truth is that the authors of this bill felt that oh-so-intense need to pass on their genes, and were willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to use a stranger as a surrogate to do it. They are now using their power and political skills to change state law to appease their consciences.
The bill's authors claim to be pro-life, but they do not seem at all concerned about the sanctity and humanity of the many embryos that will be destroyed with this bill. They claim to be Catholic, but they have completely disregarded Pope Francis's condemnation of surrogacy along with clear statements from the LA conference of Catholic Bishops. They claim to be conservative, but they are at ease venturing into this massive social experiment on children whereby mothers are dehumanized as "gestational carriers" and the maternal-infant bonds are nowhere given consideration.
I tremble for the future of Louisiana. The law teaches—and this law teaches that birthmothers are unimportant and disposable.
People will go to great lengths to pass on their genes—that desire is what it is. But while families are good and every child a worthy human being worth infinite dignity—not every form of conception should be celebrated. Surrogacy involves serious health risks, human trafficking, eugenics, systematic abortion, and broken maternal-infant bonds. Therefore, we don't need it in Louisiana.
Alana S. Newman is the founder of the Anonymous Us Project for people affected by third-party reproduction. Follow her work and blog at alananewman.com.
As Daniel Moon points out in his thoughtful article below, “Lost in the Gender Triangle”, you have to mind your pronouns in New York City. No, not who and whom, or I and me, or which and that – baffling enough, except for pedantic editors like I (no, I meant "like me"). But pronouns such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir for referring to transgender or gender-nonconforming persons.
You really need to watch your Ps and Qs, as you can be fined US$250,000 for "willful, wanton, or malicious" misuse of pronouns. The NYC Commission for Human Rightshelpfully explains what this means: “For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman ‘him’ or ‘Mr.’ after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses.” How this would be enforced is hard to imagine, but the regulations at least show the world that grammar Nazis take their job seriously.
|Lost in the Gender Triangle: is transgenderism social, medical or legal?
Daniel Moody | CONJUGALITY | 18 May 2016
Logic sinks without a trace in a trackless seas of assertions and theories
|Students are using ‘Mission Impossible’ technology to cheat in exams
Ritesh Chugh | CONNECTING | 18 May 2016
How smart technology could dumb down education
|Give Elsa a girlfriend? No, give the kids a break
Carolyn Moynihan | FEATURES | 18 May 2016
The campaign for Frozen 2 politicises children’s entertainment, and that’s unfair.
|How to rig a surrogacy hearing so dissenting voices won’t be heard
Alana S. Newman | FEATURES | 18 May 2016
Let me tell you about my state Senate committee hearing experience.
|Do you wish you were a 1970’s mum?
Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 18 May 2016
One reason why birth rates are not recovering post-recession.
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