OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to HB 2468, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statements:
The following is attributable to Nicole McAfee, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the ACLU of Oklahoma:
“While well-intentioned, we believe The Gestational Agreement Act in practice has several critical issues that infringe upon the civil rights and civil liberties of Oklahomans involved in gestational carrier agreements. The gestational carrier and genetic parents have fundamental human and constitutional rights, including their rights to privacy and future association. The ACLU of Oklahoma believes that procreative decisions concerning whether, how, and when to bear a child are private decisions protected by the U.S. Constitution. The state has no demonstrably compelling interest in involving itself in an intimate private arrangement between consenting parties seeking to have a child.
In trying to protect both surrogates and intended parents, the Oklahoma legislature should keep in mind that the state cannot discriminate against a person who seeks participation in a surrogacy agreement on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, economic or social status, religion, marital status, or physical or mental condition. This bill also purports to allow statutory discrimination on the basis of marital status, physical condition, and mental condition.
Among our primary concerns in this legislation, we fear the bill’s lack of protection for gestational carriers to make decisions about their healthcare and wellbeing throughout the process. The right to refuse or to consent to medical treatment is an essential element of the personal right to bodily integrity, a right that cannot be waived. Because a person cannot waive their right to bodily autonomy, they cannot be bound by a contract provision to give up those rights.
We understand the desire to create protections for all parties engaging in contracts around surrogacy and appreciate the hard work of legislators to give legal protections to those involved in surrogacy. However, given the shortcomings of this bill in its current form, we urge the legislature to go back to the drawing board rather moving forward with a bill that is an assault to the basic freedoms provided by our constitution.”
The following is attributable to Priya Desai, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice:
“We are grateful to see lawmakers address the complicated issue of gestational agreements, but any legislation absolutely must respect the human rights of both those carrying the pregnancies and intended parents. HB 2468 does not provide that necessary respect for human rights.
We are eager for Oklahoma families to have more reproductive options including surrogacy, however, our state can not create these regulations in a way that may intentionally exclude some Oklahoma families or leave surrogates vulnerable to any undue control over medical choices or exploitation. If the bill’s authors and legislative leadership are willing to revise this legislation by adding language to protect surrogate’s autonomy and by removing the requirement for intended parents to be married, we would be thrilled to support HB 2468. Until or unless that happens, this bill must not be passed in the legislature. “
Statement from Tamya Cox, Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes:
“Oklahomans who choose to enter into a surrogacy agreement should not have to give up their basic rights and must be able to access the full range of reproductive health care throughout their pregnancy –– including safe, legal abortion. While HB 2468 is well-meaning, it is essential that this bill expressly affirms that surrogates in Oklahoma continue to make their own personal health care decisions.
Each of us deserves the opportunity to control our lives at the most basic level: our bodies, our families, and our life’s path, even when choosing to become a surrogate. Those rights are not erased when a surrogacy agreement is made.”