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Cuomo renews push to end NY's ban on paid surrogacy

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Baldwin on Aug.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Baldwin on Aug. 13. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo once again is pushing to overturn New York’s ban on a woman being paid to carry someone else’s baby to term.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said Monday he’ll revive a proposal to allow “gestational surrogacy” in the 2020 session of the State Legislature. Last year, the Cuomo-backed idea won approval in the state Senate but died in the Assembly in the face of opposition ranging from the feminist icon Gloria Steinem to some anti-human trafficking groups to the Catholic Church.

New York is one of just three states that ban gestational surrogacy.

“New York's surrogacy ban is based in fear not love, and it's past time we updated our antiquated laws to help LGBTQ couples and people struggling with fertility use commonplace reproductive technology to start families," Cuomo said in a statement. “New York is one of only three states that explicitly prohibits this practice — that's unacceptable.”

The federal government hasn’t really touched the issue, leaving it up to states. In that vacuum, 47 other states have enacted laws establishing surrogacy rights and rules.

Meanwhile, infertile or same-sex couples in New York say they’ve had to travel out of state to go through surrogacy.

Opponents call the practice “commercial surrogacy.”

They say it will exploit vulnerable women who need the money and primarily benefit a relatively small group of couples wealthy enough to pay for surrogate services.

The New York State Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm for the state’s Catholic bishops, opposes the bill, saying it would be “exploitive of women, especially poor women.”

“We share many of the same concerns of feminist organizations and many female legislators,” said Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust. “This bill turns vulnerable women into incubators and children into commodities. We will continue to strongly oppose it.”

The 2020 state legislative session kicks off Jan. 8 in Albany and is set to run till June 2.

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