OLYMPIA, Washington, March 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A controversial bill that clears the path for homosexual couples to attain legal parentage of children and sets up parameters for paid surrogacy passed late last month along party lines in the Washington state House of Representatives.
HB1267 amends several aspects of the Washington state code to replace legal references to “mother” and “father” with “parent,” and would allow homosexual couples to hire a woman to carry a child to term and immediately claim legal parentage of the child upon his or her birth. However, the law gives the surrogate mother free rein to abort the child with no legal repercussions from the waiting couple.
According to The Daily Herald, laws allowing compensated surrogacy exist in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas. It is currently a felony to buy or sell a child in Washington, and unpaid surrogacy, such as among family members, is permitted.
A public hearing on the measure, which went to the Senate after passing the House 57-41 on Feb. 28, has been set for March 15 at 1:30 pm.
Although the bill was backed almost solely by House Democrats, the Herald noted that Democrat Rep. Mark Miloscia, a social conservative and a Catholic, was among the most vehemently opposed. One of his several proposed amendments mocked the legislation, proposing that couples be allowed to “enter into womb rental agreements with low-income women, lonely military wives, or women with mental illness or disabilities.”
“I am OK with surrogacy for compassion,” said Miloscia, one of whose amendments renamed the measure “the Baby Selling Act of 2011.” “This is completely different. You are turning a baby into a product; I said ‘a widget’ on the floor. And you are turning a low-income woman into a breeding facility with no protection.”
Miloscia also called for the baby to be a taxable product, but that amendment also failed.
Local pro-family advocates have also voiced concern over a second bill the House approved, HB 1649, which would recognize same-sex “marriages” obtained in other states as domestic partnerships in Washington. Washington state voters in 2009 approved a domestic partnership law granting marriage-like benefits to homosexual couples.
Opponents vowed to continue lobbying against the bills, which have received little media coverage.
“Purchasing parental rights before or after birth is really not a good idea,” said Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.
Backholm told LifeSiteNews.com that the gender-neutering language of the bill represented the erosion of the natural family in state law. “The expectation should be that when kids are born, there’s a mother and a father,” Backholm said.
Dr. Sharon Quick, a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and retired Clinical Assistant Professor from the Washington School of Medicine, agreed.
“It’s really treating children as trophies to be won or bought by the highest bidder,” said Quick, who, as a respected fact-checker of scientific literature, also criticized the assumption that homosexual parentage should be put on legally equal footing with a traditional household. In an Iowa court case in 2007, Quick had offered her findings that well over half the literature footnoted in an influential 2002 study on gay and lesbian parentage by the American Academy of Pediatrics was inaccurately referenced.
“The scientific literature is clearly on the side of the best environment for a child is with a married mom and dad in a low conflict situation,” Quick told LifeSiteNews.com in a telephone interview.
Backholm said he was “optimistic” that HB 1267 would not garner enough support in the Senate to pass.