by Dr. Russell D. Moore

The Council of the District of Columbia intends to pass a bill called the Collaborative Reproduction Act of 2013, which would amend Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code to make it easier for families to contract with women as surrogate mothers.

While intended as a compassionate response to infertile couples, this bill is bad for women and bad for children. The womb is not a commercial commodity to be traded in the marketplace, and children are blessings, not consumer items. Surrogacy ultimately exploits women’s bodies and children’s lives. This is not the place for laissez-faire bioethics.

Surrogacy even among family members, which seems a loving and sacrificial gift, severs procreation from the one-flesh union. Surrogacy-for-hire goes further by treating women and children as objects of commerce.

As one who has personally grappled with the pain of infertility and miscarriages, I understand both the pain many of these couples are going through and also the need to think through these issues carefully. Beyond that, as one who has served as a pastor, I admit that the church has been too slow in grappling with infertility in a way that responds both to the longing of infertile couples and the far-reaching ethical implications of fast-changing technologies. One of my goals is to help change that.

When it comes to this bill, I imagine that most of its proponents are good, loving people who desperately want to share their lives and love with children. But this I know to be true: There are some things that shouldn’t be for sale.

Russell D. Moore, Ph.D., is President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission