The South Dakota Catholic Conference opposes Senate Bill 137, which seeks to legalize commercial surrogacy in the state. The great pain felt by couples who experience infertility is a heavy burden. All who carry this cross should be met with love and support. And yet surrogacy is not the answer to this pain. Safeguarding respect for life is a preeminent concern, as data indicates only 7% of lab-created babies survive to birth, while the remaining 93% are destroyed, frozen indefinitely, or otherwise do not survive the risks. Moreover, absent from SB 137 is any recognition of a child’s rights to a relationship with his or her birth mother, or to even know — much less have legal rights to — his or her genetic mother or father, siblings, and to be treated as a person, rather than the object of a contract and adult “choice.” Our concerns are further compounded in those instances in which individuals from countries in which surrogacy is illegal hire South Dakota women to serve as surrogates, with offers of tens of thousands of dollars of extra income to “gestate” a baby only to surrender it to strangers, an offer that can be enticing for women and families of limited means. The SD Catholic Conference encourages prayerful reflection upon the many serious ethical concerns within the surrogacy industry, which cannot eliminated through a regulatory statute, and urge opposition to SB 137.

Categories: 2022 Session