Bill Passes Louisiana House

Great news for potential parents and Surrogates in Louisiana, the Surrogacy bill has passed the House, which is the first step in making it into law. Next it will head to the Senate. The large margin in favor of the bill is encouraging that it will continue to pass the Senate and become law.

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At-a-Glance: The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 79-14 to establish enforceable, legal surrogacy birth contracts between married couples and the women who carry their children in Louisiana.

The bill: Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, has sponsored the legislation which puts regulations in place for a couple and woman who enter into a surrogacy birth relationship. Surrogacy allows a couple to have a child that is biologically their own, but carried to term by a third party.

Currently, no one who sets up a contract governing a surrogacy in Louisiana can get it enforced in local courts. Lopinto’s bill would only allow surrogacy contracts between a married couple of opposite sexes and a woman between the age of 24 and 35 years old who has given birth previously. Other arrangements would be illegal.

The debate: Lopinto initially introduced a bill that was far more permissive of surrogacy arrangements, but he amended the legislation to reflect concerns of the conservative Christian community.

If enacted, the proposal would allow a fairly narrow range of surrogacy contracts to be legally enforced. It would also prohibit a couple from financially compensating a woman carrying their child outside of associated medical bills, unless she is unable to work because of the pregnancy.

Last year, the Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly passed legislation to permit surrogacy contracts more broadly, but Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed it after conservative Christians and the Catholic Church voiced their objections. Lopinto hopes his bill the governor will feel more comfortable signing his more restrictive legislation into law.

The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops has continued to object to any legislation that  permits surrogacy, including Lopinto’s currently bill. But the organization acknowledged that Lopinto’s current proposal is better than the one the legislator originally introduced.

The vote: The House of Representatives passed the bill 79-14.

Next step: Heads to the Senate.

Bottom line: Lopinto has crafted legislation that he hopes will assuage Jindal’s concerns about surrogacy and allow the proposal to bypass a veto.

Read more: A more detailed explanation of the ways in which Lopinto has altered his legislation can be found in this story about a House committee vote on the measure.

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