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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The Bishop of Ottawa read the following statement prepared for the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs concerning "Advance in Mission" and for the information of the National Executive Council. "That the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., realizing that the Christian Church's outreach into society has not been effective in recent years, believes that consideration should be given to a program of 'Advance in Mission' in the 1970's. It had accordingly presented such a proposal to the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A., and to the member churches of the Canadian Council of Churches. Specifically, the churches are invited to join in planning and interpreting such an Advance in Mission program. This would require consultation among the churches to determine the specific areas requiring attention, the degree to which any progress could be coordinated, and how the program of each church might complement the program of other churches."
He then presented the following resolution which had been approved by the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs:
"That the National Executive Council be asked to appoint one or more persons to consult with representatives of member churches of the Canadian Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, U.S.A. about the proposals for an Advance in Mission program; and that a full report of such a consultation be considered by the National Executive Council before consideration is given to full participation of the Anglican Church of Canada in the planning and carrying out of the proposed Advance in Mission program in the 1970's."
That this National Executive Council gives its approval to this resolution. CARRIED
Moved by the Bishop of Ottawa, seconded by Dr. E.W. Balcom,
That the General Secretary of General Synod, the Executive Officer for Program, Planning and Research, the General Secretary of MSCC, the General Secretary of CSS be appointed by the National Executive Council to look into this matter. CARRIED