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Supreme Court refuses to hear case of surrogate mom who refused abortion

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Supreme Court refused to hear a surrogacy case where the mother/surrogate was pressured to abort a triplet but refused, exemplifying what pro-lifers say is wrong with the surrogacy industry.

When Chester Moore Jr. found that his hired surrogate, Melissa Cook, was carrying three babies, he decided he couldn't afford to raise three and told her to abort one. Cook responded, "I am pro-life and I'm not having an abortion."  

Cook, who had anonymous donor eggs fertilized by Moore's sperm implanted in her womb, gave birth in California to all three in February 2016, and all three went to Moore -- even though Cook wanted the third baby and Moore didn't.

The dispute ballooned with Cook's concerns about Moore's fitness as a father. Moore, 51, is deaf and mute and living with his invalid parents in a cigarette smoke-filled Georgia house. Furthermore, well after the children were born, Moore's sister, Melinda, testified that her brother is incapable of properly caring for them and that the three newborns are living in a decrepit basement.  

The sister revealed in her affidavit that a few years ago when Moore grew tired of his pets that he intentionally froze them to death. She concluded, “I was horrified by the prospect that our brother, who has not been able to take care of himself, would attempt to take on raising triplets on his own while he lived in the chaos at my parents’ home.”

Even Kaiser Hospital advised Cobb County Division of Family and Child Services to “take the children … because (Moore) can’t care for them.”

Ultimately, Cook challenged California's liberal surrogacy laws in court, saying they violate her and her babies' rights to due process and equal protection under the Constitution.  

“Surrogacy is creating a generation of children severed from biological and genetic identity and a breeder class of marginalized women. Both are being transformed into commodities for sale," Kathleen Sloan, co-filer of a friend of the court brief supporting Cook, argued. "This can only be accepted and condoned by a society untethered from any sense of ethics, human rights, dignity, or moral values."

Cook, 47, lost in both federal and state courts. Undaunted, she continued her fight for the best interests of the triplets by appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

"All those who care about justice, the Constitution, and human rights must fervently hope that the Supreme Court will decide to hear this case," Sloan pleaded.

It didn't. Now, not only do the triplets stay in Moore's basement, but child "purchasers" rights to their "property" overrules what Cook believes is the best interest of the children.

California law, which the Supreme Court did not comment on but left intact, says a surrogate mother's parental rights may be terminated before birth while the child "purchaser" is named the legal parent. In effect, the nation's highest court ignored these concerns and other serious ethical and constitutional issues regarding surrogacy.

Meanwhile, Cook's triplets were born prematurely and spent three months in ICU without father or mother, at the cost (to taxpayers) of $3,000 a day. Cook was not allowed to see the babies and Moore only visited them for a short time. The Supreme Court filing claimed that the children, now 18 months old, were forced to eat off the basement floor and allowed to stay in diapers so filthy their health was endangered.

Child’s rights advocates say there needs to be limits on surrogacy laws for the sake of the children created  "Surrogacy is out of control in the United States," Sloan reasoned.  "When the primal bond — as ancient as humankind itself — between mother and child is destroyed, what will be left?”

Jennifer Roback Morse pointed out that in vitro fertilization intentionally conceives multiple children then discards them, whether in the womb or in a petri dish. As with Cook, "selective reduction" (abortion) is often demanded when more than one baby successfully implants. Besides Cook’s three babies who survived implantation and were given life, 10 other conceived children were thrown away like trash.  

Moreover, pro-lifers say surrogacy breaks the mother/child bond. It objectifies women into human incubators. It disregards the rights of the surrogate mother. It exploits poor women to basically prostitute their wombs.

Surrogacy is also harmful for the baby. His or her best interests are completely ignored legally. Besides the psychological rupture of abandoning the mother/child bond, in vitro fertilization carries significant health risks, such as premature birth, low birth weight, and cerebral palsy. If the baby or babies don't meet "purchaser" specifications, they are aborted, too.

The bottom line, pro-lifers say, is surrogacy creates a market for human beings. It is a lot like human trafficking --in fact, it is human trafficking for profit.

Surrogacy is basically unregulated. Only Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York prohibit renting wombs for profit in the incubation of other peoples' children. It is estimated that nearly half the child "purchases" in the U.S. are by foreigners.

And it is a lucrative business. Surrogate mothers like Cook make as much as $30,000 a baby or more. Surrogacy has grown globally, with India and the U.S. as its leaders, into a $6 billion industry.

Contrary to California laws, which designate the child "purchaser" as legal parent and disregard the surrogate’s rights, medical sociologist Barbara Katz Rothman says the surrogate is the mother.

“If you are pregnant with a baby, you are the mother of the baby that you’re carrying," Rothman explained. "The nutrients, the blood supply, the sounds, the sweep of the body. That’s not somebody standing in for somebody else to that baby. That’s the only mother that baby has.”

The lawsuit is found here.

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