Dear New York Senator/Assemblyman,

Them Before Us exists to defend a child’s fundamental right to their mother and father. This right grants children not only the two people who are statistically the most likely to be connected to, protective of, and invested in them but also gives them the biological identity that all humans crave. This natural child right should be vehemently protected by all adults, especially those in power.

We write to convey our strong opposition to New York Senate Bill S.17A and urge you to vote against it, upholding New York’s commitment to stand for the rights of the defenseless. While longing be a parent is a natural and noble desire, it should not be achieved at the expense of the rights and wellbeing of children.  Many donor- and surrogate conceived people oppose creating children with the express intent of denying them a relationship with one or both biological parents.  They highlight the genealogical bewilderment, psychological struggles, and familial instability that they have faced, regardless of their household structure.  

By disregarding the rights of children to be known and loved by both biological parents, SB S.17A codifies the commodification of children.  In addition, legalizing commercial surrogacy ignores decades of adoption, foster care, and child protection statutes, which seeks to prevent child trafficking by prohibiting payments directly to birth mothers. Not only is state support of paid surrogacy an abuse of governmental power but it’s also psychologically damaging to the children born of these arrangements.  Jessica Kern, a child of surrogacy, states:

I am told, look how much your parents wanted you, they planned and saved to have you….When you know that a huge part of the reason that  you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after being paid you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself.”

SB S.17A claims to “take into consideration the best interests of the child”, yet the means to that end involves dismantles their fundamental rights. SB S.17A aligns the power of the state behind the desires of intended parents at the expense of a child’s identity and natural rights.  It’s never in the child’s “best interest” to be treated as a commodity to be cut and pasted, purchased and sold by any and every adult, regardless of how much those adults want a baby.

We implore you to stand for those who are unable to stand for themselves, and vote against S.17A because this bill is bad for children. As one donor conceived woman puts it, “This is not a new way of creating families, it’s a new way of ripping them apart.