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American Bar Association




Does a surrogate mother have the right to change her mind? Not according to the Baby M court, which enforced a $10,000 contract between Mary Beth Whitehead and William and Elizabeth Stern that it found was "in the best interests of the child." The decision is now on appeal before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The case has produced sharply divided reaction-some denounce surrogate arrangements as Orwellian while others see them as a boon to childless couples.

George Annas, a professor of health law at Boston University's School of Public Health, would void these contracts on policy grounds. He believes they turn women into baby-breeders and children into items of commerce.

John A. Robertson, Baker and Botts professor at the University of Texas School of Law, disagrees. He believes in upholding voluntary, noncoercive agreements that secure an infertile couple's right to procreate.

Here is their debate.

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