Lawmakers decide on surrogacy bill

TOPEKA, Kan . - Lawmakers will not hear Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook's proposal to make surrogate motherhood a crime in Kansas.

After the state Senate's Health Committee heard just one day of overwhelming negative testimony and feedback, Senator Pilcher-Cook, a Republican from Shawnee, decided to pull the bill from consideration this legislative year. The bill would have outlawed hiring women as surrogate child bearers.

Pilcher-Cook introduced the measure and held a hearing on the issue Monday; it was supposed to go into testimony on Tuesday but it did not survive a second day.

The Senator said she had concerns that Kansas has no law that address surrogacy contracts. She and her advocates said surrogate women can be exploited without any knowledge of the mental and physical health concerns.

"I wanted the public to know about surrogacy and the committee members to know about surrogacy," Pilcher-Cook said Tuesday.

On Monday, political support dropped quickly. Senate President Susan Wagle stated her opposition as did Senator David Haley, a Democrat from Wyandotte.

"It flew in the face of what Kansans truly believe," Haley said.

Former nurse and President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, Jennifer Lahl, who traveled from San Francisco to support Pilcher-Cook's bill and tried to sway committee lawmakers.

"We want mothers and children to bond in utero and we want mothers and babies to attach and not just at delivery. Give them away as if it doesn't matter to that child," Lahl said.

But Monika Ogilvie, of Shawnee, a mother whose cousin offered to be her surrogate, said she thought the offer was one of the most selfless acts someone could offer.

"It was amazing and shocking someone was willing to go through that to give us a baby," she said.

Monika and Brian's biological child Olivia is now three years old. 

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