May 24, 2024 11:07 pm
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Whitmer signs surrogacy bills, calls them the ‘most pro-family thing that the Legislature has done’



Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed bills that creates the Michigan Family Protection Act during a press conference held at the Royal Oak Public Library, calling it “common-sense legislation.” 

The set of nine bills — House Bills 5207-5215 — were sponsored by Democrats and support parents and their children born through surrogacy or In-vitro fertilization (IVF).

The package also repeals a ban that made Michigan the only state in the nation to criminalize surrogacy contracts. Supporters of the legislation said it better protects surrogates, parents, and children so that more Michiganders have the support they need to choose to start a family. 

Bills in the package:

  • HB 5207, sponsored by state Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills)
  • HB 5208, sponsored by state Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township)
  • HB 5209, sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi)
  • HB 5210, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield)
  • HB 5211, sponsored by state Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Township)
  • HB 5212, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor)
  • HB 5213, sponsored by state Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing)
  • HB 5214, sponsored by state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia)
  • HB 5215, sponsored by state Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw)

“This is the most pro-family thing that the Legislature has done,” Whitmer, a Democrat. 

For the first time in nearly 40 years, Democrats in 2022 won control of the state House and Senate with narrow majorities. The Legislature has passed a number of reproductive rights measures this term. The Senate is split 20-18 and the House is divided 54-54 with two vacancies set to be filled in special elections on April 16. 

However, Right to Life of Michigan, which opposed the package, called the signing “disgraceful.”

“Today’s bill signing is a disgraceful election year attempt to mislead voters with the fantasy that IVF, prenatal care and abortion are at risk in Michigan. This could not be further from the truth. IVF has been operating in Michigan since the 70s. There is no threat to it, nor has there been. There is absolutely no parallel in Michigan to Alabama’s recent, isolated issue,” said President Amber Roseboom.

Recently, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos count as children under state law, which shut down some in vitro fertilization programs in that state. The Alabama governor has since signed legislation that is supposed to protect IVF clinics.

Whitmer was joined at the event by several state lawmakers, including state Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and state Rep. Samatha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), as well as reproductive freedom advocates such as the Michigan Fertility Alliance. 

Brinks said that the Michigan legislation “was years in the making.” 

“Years of hard work and dedication to Michiganders to have freedom to fulfill their dreams, becoming parents and growing their families through surrogacy,” Brinks said. 

Steckloff, who is a breast cancer survivor and faces fertility challenges due to chemotherapy, said the legislation will help many families and support their reproductive freedom. 

“To families like mine and people like me, this means the world,” Steckloff said. 

Tammy Myers of Grand Rapids attended the Royal Oak event and has previously testified in the state House and Senate in support of the bills. She and her husband, Jordan, won a legal fight to adopt their biological twins. They were born via gestational carrier in January 2021.

“We took our sorrow and turned it into our super power,” Myers said. “And for that, and all these bills will provide to others, allow them to build families, we are forever grateful.” 

This article is republished from the Michigan Advance under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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