TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Parents, doctors and women who have been surrogate mothers are strongly criticizing a Kansas Senate bill to void existing surrogacy contracts and make it illegal to pay women to serve as surrogates.
The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony Monday on the measure drafted by committee chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Republican from Shawnee.
Pilcher-Cook and other supporters of the bill said they're worried about the health of surrogate children and the women who bear them, as well as the possible exploitation of poor women.
But women who have been surrogates testified that it was a positive experience, and parents of children birthed by surrogate mothers said others shouldn't be denied the same option.
And Wichita physician David Grainger said such a law would have criminalized Jesus' conception.
A Kansas Senate committee's chairwoman is pushing a proposal that would make it illegal to pay women to be surrogate mothers and void existing surrogacy contracts.
The Public Health and Welfare Committee was meeting Monday afternoon to begin two days of hearings on the proposal from Shawnee Republican Mary Pilcher-Cook.
The bill is patterned after a law in the District of Columbia. Pilcher-Cook has said she's concerned that Kansas has no laws dealing with surrogacy contracts and she worries about women being exploited.
The measure would cover both oral and written surrogacy contracts.
A person who arranges a contract for pay or other compensation would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.