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Senate sends surrogacy bills to Whitmer for signature

Bills on their way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk would repeal Michigan’s ban on surrogate parenting contracts.

Michigan was among the vanguard of states to outlaw paid surrogacy agreements with a 1988 law and is now among a small group of states that continue to do so.

Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), one of the bill sponsors, said Michigan should join the majority of states that allow and regulate surrogacy contracts.

Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) is one of the sponsors of legislation to legalize surrogacy contracts in Michigan.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) is one of the sponsors of legislation to legalize surrogacy contracts in Michigan.

“It’s time to update our laws in Michigan and bring them in line with modern technology and practices as well as our compassion for families of all types, ensuring that Michiganders can fulfill their dreams of parenthood,” she said. “These bills not only safeguard the rights of biological parents but also prioritize the protection and the reproductive freedom of those surrogates.”

The bills allow for compensation for carrying a pregnancy and expenses such as insurance and housing. Surrogates would have to be at least 21 years old and undergo a mental health screening.

The bills were adopted on mostly party-line votes with Democrats in support and most Republicans opposed.

Senator Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) called the package immoral.

“What it really does is put vulnerable women at risk of exploitation, treats surrogates and the babies they carry as commercial products and fundamentally redefines the family to the extent that family is even considered relevant at all,” he said.

Whitmer, in a statement released by her office, said she is looking forward to signing the bills.

"Decisions about if, when, and how to have a child are deeply personal. Politicians should not be dictating the terms of these private decisions that should be left to a family, their doctor, and those they love and trust,” she said. Among other things, she said a new law would “ensure LGBTQ+ parents are treated equally.”

“These changes will support parents in Michigan and guarantee that every child is treated equally and protected by the law, no matter how their parent chose to start a family,” she said.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.