Surrogate Mom refuses to abort, files suit challenging constitutionality of California’s surrogacy law

By Dave Andrusko

Melissa Cook

Melissa Cook

A little over two weeks ago we posted on two women who have refused to abort babies they are carrying as surrogates: Melissa Cook and Brittneyrose Torres.

Cook had entered in a contract in which she would be paid $33,000 to carry a baby conceived through IVF using a 50-year-old Georgia man’s sperm and a 20-year-old woman’s eggs. The contract specified $6,000 for each additional child. Three ovum were implanted. The man eventually insisted that Cook “selectively reduce” –abort–one of the three babies, and Cook, who describes herself as pro-life, refused.

On Monday Ms. Cook filed a lawsuit asserting that California’s surrogacy law is unconstitutional because it violates due-process and equal protection rights. In her 47-page complain, Cook said she is “the legal mother of the triplets and seeks custody of at least one who was targeted for abortion,” reported Carl Campanile of the New York Post. “A custody hearing would determine the fate of the other two.”

Cook told the Post that last fall she’d been sent a letter by the man’s attorney, Robert Warmsley,

asking her to undergo ‘selective reduction’ (abortion of one of the fetuses). He stated that failure to adhere to the agreement could lead to ‘loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children [and] medical costs associated with any extraordinary care the children may need.’

The Daily Mail’s account is much more complete.

Ashley Collman said Cook and the man had a “falling out this fall when he grew concerned at the prospect of having to raise three children at once and asked her to abort one of the embryos,” citing financial considerations.

According to Cook’s complaint, that’s when she became anxious and offered to adopt the third baby. By the end of September she said she would not abort any of the babies and by November the Georgia man [identified only as “C.M.”] finalized his decision to ask Cook to abort one of the babies.

Collman writes

When Cook again stated that she would not go through with an abortion, C.M.’s lawyer told Cook that his client ‘understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce’ – and threatened to sue Cook for damages and child support if she didn’t go through with the abortion, citing a clause in the surrogacy contract that gives Cook the option to ask her to abort

“The surrogacy contract in this case and the California Surrogacy Enabling Statute will not withstand constitutional scrutiny,” Cook’s lawyer said. “The notion that a man can demand that a mother terminate the life of one of the children she carries by an abortion, and then claim that she is liable for money damages when she refuses, is cruel to the mother,” he added.

Cook’s position could not be more clear. “They are human beings,” Cook told the Post. “I bonded with these kids. This is just not right.”

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