Toronto, May 2, 1989 -- The practice of surrogate motherhood is offensive and unacceptable because it turns children into "commodities", an Anglican Church task force says. The report takes issue with a recent Ontario Law Reform Commission report which recommended procedures to regularize the practice.
Task force members will present their report at a news conference Tuesday, May 2 at 9:30 a.m. at 135 Adelaide Street East (Anglican Diocese of Toronto).
In surrogate motherhood, when a husband and wife cannot have children naturally, the husband may hire the services of another woman. This so-called "surrogate" mother is then artificially inseminated with the husband's sperm.
"Human beings must be treated as ends, not means," says the task force report. "The humanity of women must not be subordinated to their reproductive capacities. Nor may children be deliberately created for sale. These two grave ethical flaws are inherent in surrogate motherhood. The buying and selling of human beings, for whatever purpose, incorporates the evil present in slavery and is just as offensive."
The report recommends that contracts for surrogate motherhood be unenforceable in Canada and that provincial laws governing adoption be reviewed to ensure that adoption procedures cannot be abused to bring about surrogate motherhood arrangements. "If provincial adoption laws cannot ensure that surrogacy is banned in Canada," the report says, "we recommend that federal legislation be enacted making it a criminal offence to recommend, initiate, arrange or agree to the bearing of a child in a surrogacy arrangement for payment in cash or in kind." The several recommendations in the report will be presented for discussion in June to the General Synod, the church's highest legislative body.
The task force was authorized in May 1987 by the church's national executive council. Its members include: Rt. Rev. John Baycroft, Suffragan Bishop of Ottawa; the Rev. Bruce Alton, Trinity College; Phyllis Creighton, editor, University of Toronto Press; Marsha Hewitt, professor, Trinity College; and the Rev. Don Thompson, professor, Centre for Christian Studies.
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For further information, contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, (416) 925-9192 ext. 286 (bus.), (416) 335-8349 (res.)
1. the standing committees presently funding ecumenical coalitions to take the above priorities into account in developing grants to coalitions in 1997;
2. those standing committees whose coalition work is funded by the apportionment budget to allow some loosening of the "coalition baskets" in order to permit movement of unallocated funds outside the "baskets" to coalitions that have successfully remandated;
3. the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples to consider becoming a funding partner of The Aboriginal Rights Coalition in 1997. CARRIED #35-03-96