New Jersey Family First
The Legislative Action Arm of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2012
CONTACT: Greg Quinlan (800) 653-7204
TRENTON - On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, Governor Chris Christie vetoed Senate Bill 1599 “The Gestational Carrier Bill.” This legislation would have authorized commercial agreements to rent a woman’s womb to carry someone else’s child. Gregory Quinlan of New Jersey Family First (NJFF) the legislative action arm of New Jersey Family Policy Council dubbed S1599 the “rent a womb” bill. The concept of this legislation was repugnant on its face. The bill would have preyed on the poorest of women, who may have been tempted to escape difficult or desperate financial situations by carrying someone else’s child for large sums of money some estimates as much as $60,000 to $100,000. This would commercialize pregnancy in unimagined ways as well as violating the filial rights of the child and maternal rights of the “carrying” mother. “We are talking about human beings, not commercial products,” stated Quinlan.
The New Jersey Bioethics Commission was created to study the issue of surrogacy after the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1988 ruled unanimously against surrogacy in the famous Baby M case. The bipartisan commission, comprised of persons from diverse groups included physicians, scientists, mental health professionals, and attorneys, performed research, held public hearings, and gathered information for over 18 months. Three years later the Commission published their findings in a 171-page report. The report condemned all forms of surrogacy, including gestational surrogacy. It recommended legislation to strongly discourage the practice of surrogacy, including limited criminal sanctions and rules for awarding custody of the human beings born as a result.
S1599 met vigorous opposition from unlikely allies. NJFF worked with the feminist group NOW (the National Organization for Women) as well The League of American Families and New Jersey Right to Life. Attorney Harold Cassidy was invaluable in the process as well. Many members of the legislature did pay attention to our combined voices. The bill passed both chambers with one vote to spare in each, making it virtually impossible to override the Governor’s veto. The Governor stated in his absolute veto, “I am not satisfied that these questions have been sufficiently studied by the Legislature at this time. Validating contracts for the birth of children is a step that cannot be taken without the most serious inquiry, reflection, and consensus.” We agree! “New Jersey Family Policy Council is not convinced that contractual law will ever answer the serious moral, ethical, and civil liberty concerns such proposed law brings,” stated Len Deo, founder and president.
We are grateful Governor Chris Christie saw through the nefarious rhetoric of the bill’s sponsors and supporters and vetoed this anti-family, anti-woman, anti-child piece of legislation.
New Jersey Family Policy Council (1-800-FAMILY-1) is a non-profit, multi-issue organization, working to strengthen the family through informed citizenship and improved public policy. For more information regarding our Marriage, Citizen or Youth Builder Programs, please contact us at the above number.