Utahns debate legislation regarding rights of families, surrogate mothers

SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill that would have weakened protections for Utah families who use a surrogate to carry their child during pregnancy appears to be headed for defeat.

“This bill would have put the future of my family and people like me in jeopardy,” said Dallas Young, an attorney from Lindon.

Young brought his six-month-old son Parker to the State Capitol on Wednesday to testify about the success of the current law to help couples who face infertility.

“Members of the committee: My family deserves better than this,” said Young to members of the Senate Health and Human Services committee.

His testimony was one of several emotional moments.

Both parents and surrogates came to the microphone to encourage lawmakers to kill the bill that would repeal part of the current law. The changes would give the woman who bears the child a greater claim to custody, weakening protections for the family who sought out the surrogate.

Among those testifying was Abby Cox, the wife of Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox.

She carried a child for a family member and addressed the committee on the importance of surrogacy agreements for both sides during the post-partum days.

“Had this agreement not been in process, I feel like some of that post-partum emotion that I went through, there would have been an escape route that I don’t think is useful,” Cox said.

After two hours of hearing public comments, the committee tabled the bill. Technically it could come up again this legislative session.