This past Saturday I had the honor of moderating the SD Tea Party’s Legislative Lunch. Rep Roger Hunt was one of the six legislators present….and he’d had a hard week at the hands of the Argus and my friend Greg Belfrage on KELO-AM…so I asked him what he was thinking when he proposed HB 1218 — which would make surrogacy contracts unenforceable. The Argus screamed from it’s editorial page that this was really an anti-gay and anti-family bill.
Rep Hunt said the bill is aimed at preventing trafficking in human lives and exploiting women and would NOT impact family/friend surrogacy as those arrangements don’t end up in court. The other interesting fact about HB 1218 — it’s based on existing SD law on adoptions.
In talking with a lawyer about this issue — I was told this is a very murky and complicated area of law….so why not clarify it? Why not use current law as a roadmap? Why not take a stand against selling babies or exploiting poor women….those most vulnerable to a “rent a womb” type of business? It may not be a big issue in SD — but why should we wait until it’s a problem.
Again — according to Rep Hunt — this bill would not stop the Arlette Schweitzers of the world (the Aberdeen grandma who carried her own grandchilden for her daughter). The purpose is protecting birth mother and child from commercial surrogacy not the friends and family plan. We don’t sell babies in SD — that’s a good thing.
Rep Hunt is unsure whether the bill will make it out of the committee because of the negative press it’s received. Roger is a favorite “demon” of the Argus Leader and the left because he is a very outspoken conservative. I know him to be a good man with good intentions.