Not for Rent. Not for Sale.

On April 29, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to advance H.F. 3567, a bill that would establish a legal framework for commercial surrogacy agreements in our state. This legislation should stir grave concerns among Catholics and our belief in the protection and promotion human dignity and of human life from conception to natural death. 


At its core, this bill poses a fundamental moral and ethical dilemma. Surrogacy, particularly when commercialized, commodifies women's bodies and reduces children to mere products. It creates a system ripe for exploitation and abuse.  

Women are not vessels for rent, and children are not products to be bought and sold. 

The surrogacy industry in Minnesota, as elsewhere, primarily targets lower-middle-income women who are financially vulnerable yet not destitute. These women, often mothers themselves, are enticed by the promise of substantial compensation. But the power dynamics in surrogacy arrangements heavily favor the affluent "intended parents," leaving surrogate mothers vulnerable to coercion, inadequate healthcare, and emotional trauma. 

The intentional separation of a child from their birth mother in these arrangements raises profound questions. Unlike the robust legal protections in adoption, surrogacy lacks safeguards for the best interests of the child, leading to potential long-term emotional consequences for children born through surrogacy. 

Surrogacy contracts, touted as solutions, often fail to address the inherent dilemmas associated with these arrangements. Consent within these contracts may be compromised by economic desperation, akin to exploitative labor practices. 

Legalizing these types of surrogacy arrangements poses significant risks to the well-being of all parties involved. While we can all empathize deeply with those facing infertility struggles, we cannot turn a blind eye to the inherent harms of commercial surrogacy, which often involve people from other parts of the world coming to Minnesota to work with Minnesota surrogates. 

During floor debate on the bill, Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) and Rep. Harry Niska (R-Ramsey) introduced amendments aimed at mitigating the harmful impacts of surrogacy, but unfortunately, these amendments were not adopted. By failing to require that intended parents be U.S. citizens, the bill fails to protect against human trafficking.  It also neglects to ban traditional surrogacy arrangements where the surrogate contributes her own egg and overlooks requirements for intended parents to be married or contribute gametes to the conception of the child via in vitro fertilization. 

Pope Francis himself has called for a global ban on surrogacy, recognizing the serious ethical questions it raises.  

The surrogacy industry's relentless push for legalization in Minnesota raises red flags. States such as Illinois and California, where surrogacy is legal, have witnessed a surge in the industry without adequate consideration for the well-being of women and children. 

This legislation, in its current form, falls short of ensuring justice and dignity for all by working to make Minnesota an epicenter of the global surrogacy industry. Fortunately, it is not likely to pass the Senate this year, but we must remain vigilant, as it returns year after year.   

As Catholics, we are called to defend the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human person. We urge our elected officials to listen to the moral voice of conscience and reject the legalization of commercial surrogacy in Minnesota. Let us stand together to protect the vulnerable and uphold the values that define our faith. 





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