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A woman has brought suit in a California court to avoid having one of three babies aborted in utero. Yes, you read that one right.
The case shines a rather troubling light in that area of the law generally known as surrogacy law: contracts having to do with the births of children. It goes to show you just how far contract law can apply -- the very limits of decency.
Surrogate motherhood is the medical mechanism by which a woman may bring a baby to term (either her own or through another woman's eggs). The procedure is intended to provide a means for persons who cannot have children to raise a child of their own, (or for people who wish to skirt their country's family structure laws). Sometimes, the baby can be sold for many tens of thousands of dollars.
In the case at bar, the sperm of a man and the eggs of a twenty-year-old woman were inserted into a surrogate woman, Melissa Cook, aged 47. In a turn of coincidence, Cook ended up with triplets. The man who entered into contract with her pregnancy only contracted for a single child and has offered an ultimatum: he will find an adoptive family for the second child, and demand an abortion of the third.
Cook has allegedly been on the receiving end of the father's abusive tactics including promises of "financial ruin." He also cited various contract remedies that would chill many readers' sensibilities to the core.
Cook has since had a change of heart on the subject of surrogacy and has now alleged that some aspects of California surrogacy law are unconstitutional. As Cook's attorneys claim, it is cruel to a woman to allow a man to demand money damages when the woman refuses to abort a baby according to specific terms of a contract.
Incidentally, Cook is currently represented by the attorney who represented the surrogate mom in the Baby M case. This will certainly be an interesting case to follow as it goes forward.
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