Apr 1, 2024 - Health

Michigan decriminalizes paid surrogacy contracts

Wearing black, Gretchen Whitmer speaks while sitting at a white chair

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer participates in a women's rights session in New York City in September 2023. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Monday signed legislation to end the state's criminal ban on paid surrogacy and surrogacy contracts.

Why it matters: It was the last U.S. state to criminalize compensated surrogacy and related contracts.

  • The law also protects families with children born via in vitro fertilization and protects the treatment of LGBTQ+ parents, Whitmer said in a news conference.

State of play: Under the Family Protection Act, a surrogacy agreement must include payment of compensation, support and reasonable expenses.

  • Surrogacy contracts were considered "void and unenforceable" under the existing law.
  • Under Michigan's law, some parents had to go through an adoption process for their biological children born through a surrogate, the AP reported.

Between the lines: The bill package was passed by the Michigan Senate in March, but without two-thirds support, the Detroit Free Press reported.

  • It will take effect 90 days after the Michigan Legislature concludes its 2024 session.

What they're saying: "Our outdated law prescribed up to a year of jail time and a $10,000 fine for using a surrogate," Whitmer said on Monday. "Today's bills repeal that ban and better protect surrogates, children and parents."

Zoom out: Reproductive rights beyond abortion have been contested at the state level this year, notably with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that determined embryos created through IVF are children.

Flashback: The ban was put into place in 1988 in response to a legal surrogacy case.

Go deeper: Pope Francis calls for global ban on surrogacy

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