Patty Knap calls herself a “born again” Catholic. She planned to be a wife and mother of four or five kids with several girls, but as life played out, she’s a single mom with two young adult boys. She counsels at a crisis pregnancy center, teaches CCD, takes online classes with the Avila Institute, and loves the beach, dalmatians, and America’s national parks. She also saves recipes in a pile until it gets big and then throws them out.
A disturbing trend we hear more and more about is “surrogate parenting”, where a woman agrees to carry someone else's pregnancy.
In a bizarre case out of California, a set of triplets was born two weeks ago to a surrogate mother and a "father" who is a 50-year-old deaf postal worker living with his parents and is the sole caretaker for his disabled mother. His mother is completely bedridden and in need of constant nursing care. Additionally, his elderly father has said the children cannot be raised in their home.
Melissa, the surrogate mother, agreed to carry the pregnancy, unaware at the time of the agreement with the man seeking fatherhood that she would carry triplets. When the “father” found out about the triplets, he wanted one of them to be aborted. Fortunately, the mother refused, even saying she would keep all three babies herself. The organization Catholic Vote defended Melissa against the father and his demand that she abort one baby. CV went to court last month to argue that, due to the exploitative nature of the surrogacy contract and the fact that the “father” has nowhere to raise the children, Melissa should be granted custody of her children. Lawyers argued that the surrogacy contract should be nullified given the outrageous circumstances surrounding the man paying for children to be created. The judge refused to nullify the contract, and even said that what happens to the children is of no concern to the court.
The three baby boys were born at a California hospital and are all healthy, although due to their small size (common in multiple pregnancies), they remain in the hospital. The hospital placed extra security on the delivery floor, and refused to allow the mother to see the children pending the outcome of the lawsuit against the “father.”
Melissa has told the court she is now willing to raise all three children. The deaf man who funded the surrogacy contract is refusing, and has said he will either keep two of the children himself and give one away, or give them all away. He has not explained how he could possibly raise two children on his own while taking care of his disabled mother, all while his own father has stated the children do not have a home at his house.
The manufacturing and commercialization of children is an assault on the family and the rights of mothers, not to mention devastating for the children. The outcome of this case could mean a strong message to the surrogacy industry, and down or even strike down absurd surrogacy laws in CA and across the U.S. States must reexamine laws allowing surrogacy parenting for profit and the nightmare situations taking place as a result.
While we pray for God's hand to be in the court's decision in this case, one positive thing is that mother Melissa has said she wants to start going to church again after twenty years away.