CA Surrogacy Law Supersedes Best Interest of Children

Aug 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Liberty Counsel filed an Amicus Brief today for M.C. v C.M., asking the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case challenging the California gestational surrogacy law that provides that intent of contracting parties supersedes the best interest of the children. Liberty Counsel represents the American College of Pediatricians, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) and in support of the biological mother, M.C., who is represented by pro-life attorney Harold Cassidy.

The birth mother, M.C., was a party to a surrogacy contract. As the pregnancy progressed, it became apparent that the biological father, C.M., had several challenges that raised questions about his ability to care for the children.  The contract provided that the mother would relinquish all parentage claims when the children were born and the father would have the rights of parentage, including custody. The three embryos were created by his sperm and eggs from a donor that were implanted into M.C.'s womb. All three developed into healthy babies.  After the babies were born prematurely they stayed in the hospital for a long time.  During that time, the father's attorney petitioned the court to issue an order terminating M.C.'s rights and granting full responsibility to the father. M.C. challenged the request and tried to present evidence showing that C.M. could not properly care for the children and it would not be in their best interest for him to be the responsible party.  

However, the court relied upon the California gestational surrogacy statute that does not permit consideration of the best interests of the child, but requires that the "intent" of the biological parent be followed.  The court even stated that what happened to the children was not its concern.

Liberty Counsel is presenting to the Supreme Court medical evidence showing the unique and lifelong bonding that occurs between the birth mother and the child/children throughout pregnancy and then into childhood, and that California's law refusing to take that into account should be invalidated. 

“Researchers and practitioners agree that it is difficult to overstate the essential and lifelong importance of the mother/child bond,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Since mother and child are biologically intertwined, their relationship is qualitatively distinct from any other relationship and should be acknowledged by the law. The case of M.C v C.M. is an example that this kind of gestational surrogacy contract supersedes what’s in the best interest of the children. Basically, the California court has said it doesn’t care what happens to the children,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.