These Catholics think surrogacy reform will result in gays buying babies. Yes, really
A Catholic news site has suggested that reforming the UK’s outdated 1985 surrogacy laws would result in LGBT+ people buying babies.
The piece from the Catholic Herald has the headline: “Is Britain about to legalise the selling of babies?”
According to the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, the surrogacy process “is governed by the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 and certain provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Acts 1990 and 2008”.
The biggest problem with current surrogacy law is that a baby’s intended parents do not become legal parents when the baby is born, but must apply for a parental order transfer after the birth.
According to the consultation document for surrogacy reform: “The court cannot make a parental order less than six weeks after the child’s birth. That is because the parental order requires the consent of the surrogate, and the law says that her consent can only validly be given once that period of time has passed.
“In practice, intended parents are likely to have to wait at least six months before a parental order is made because of the time it takes for the proceedings to come before the court.”
The government is proposing to change this, allowing “intended parents to become legal parents when the child is born, subject to the surrogate retaining a right to object for a short period after the birth”.
Paying a surrogate more than necessary expenses, otherwise known as ‘commercial surrogacy’, is not legal in the UK. The law commissions said they were “provisionally proposing that surrogacy organisations should remain non-profit”.
However, the Catholic Herald believes that reforming the law will mean that LGBT+ people can purchase babies.
The article said: “Campaigners who speak of ‘equal love’ now also trumpet the rights of ‘gay families’ and, given the range of genders coming into acceptance, socially and legally, there may soon be ‘trans families’ and ‘non-binary families’ – the range is endless.
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“Such changes are in the pipeline thanks to a rather limited public consultation on surrogacy being conducted jointly by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission until October 11.
“Together they are proposing to introduce commercial surrogacy into Britain while restricting the rights of surrogate mothers to keep the babies they carry.”
It added: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses the teaching that surrogacy is a gravely immoral act because ordinarily it dissociates the husband and wife and allows the intrusion of a third person.
“The Catechism says it infringes the child’s right to be born of a mother and father known to the child and bound to each other by marriage, and it betrays the right of the spouses to become a mother and a father only through each other.”
Screenwriter and LGBT+ rights activist Dustin Lance Black is married to Tom Daley, and they used a surrogate to have their son Robert.
Black was quoted by the Law Commission as saying: “Good, clear law helps people make stronger, clearer decisions. Solid, definitive surrogacy law in the UK will have the power to keep surrogates, egg donors, intended parents, children, and families safe.
“This consultation is vital for ensuring the UK succeeds in building the best surrogacy law in the world. I hope as many people as possible can get involved and respond.”
The consultation period for the Law Commission’s proposed surrogacy reform closes on October 11 and a draft bill to change legislation is expected in 2021.