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March 18, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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Bill would allow legal payments to surrogate mothers

Posted by Letters editor

Legislation crosses ethical boundaries

There are some things that money cannot or should not buy, such as integrity, love, human organs and babies [“Bill would legalize payment of surrogates to bear children,” page one, March 15]. However, if House Bill 1267 passes in Washington, sale of babies and womb rental will become legitimate business.

Imagine photos of egg and sperm donors on a website advertising sale of designer babies, refined through eugenic selection of “superior” traits, so that potential parents can choose genetic features; living embryos with “undesirable” traits or gender are discarded. Science fiction? No, this describes the website of Baby 101, an Asia-based “eugenics surrogate” service, from which 14 Vietnamese women were rescued from apparent sexual slavery in a surrogate baby trafficking ring in Thailand.

HB 1267 would make it legal for baby brokers in Washington to exploit poor women anywhere in the world, turning them into commodities worth the price of their wombs. Infertility is an awful predicament, but this bill is not the solution. It treats children as trophies to be won by the highest bidder, has inadequate safeguards for surrogates, has no prohibitions against using a surrogate womb for human cloning, bypasses adoption safety standards and provides a perfect setup for human trafficking of pregnant women.

— Sharon Quick, Washington State Coordinator, American Academy of Medical Ethics, Bonney Lake

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