New York’s surrogacy bill fails at last minute

Last week BioEdge reported that New York State was on the brink of legalising commercial surrogacy with the strong support of Governor Andrew Cuomo. But the proposal has fallen off the brink, stymied by opposition from a loose coalition of feminists and religious groups who argue that surrogacy exploits women.

“Many members, including a large majority of women in our conference, have raised important concerns that must be properly addressed before we can move forward,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

A furious Cuomo bitterly blamed three women legislators for stymieing the legislation. He has framed surrogacy as a gay-rights issue. “I do not understand the Assembly members who oppose this,” Cuomo said on Tuesday. “I have respect for Assembly member [Deborah] Glick and [Helene] Weinstein and Didi Barrett, but I just don’t see the possible rationale. Pass the law that protects women.”

Ms Glick, the first openly gay person to sit in the state assembly, said that Cuomo was not being respectful. “Personally, as an environmentalist I understand we have too many people in the world and as someone who has chaired the Social Services Committee in the past, I know that we have hundreds of thousands of youngsters looking for [adopted] families. I certainly do not think that there is sufficient protection for the women who do not appear to be considered as people in the arrangement, but rather as the donor and as the surrogate.”

The issue is far from over. Governor Cuomo has vowed to “continue the fight” when the legislature resumes.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge    

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