The Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden
State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General
700 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 210
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0010

Dear Attorney General Wasden:

I am writing to you following the tragic deaths of three Idaho residents who died on October 8, 2015 at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise as a result of complications during pregnancy. In addition to the untimely death of the 34-year-old mother, Brooke Lee Brown, twin babies who were just days away from being born also died.

The mother was reportedly acting as a surrogate for a couple from Spain—where such a practice remains illegal—and died of either a placental abruption or amniotic fluid embolisms. She had been contracted as a surrogate at least three times within a short period of time, which may have contributed to her death and the subsequent deaths of her twins. Sadly, because the multi-billion dollar commercial baby industry is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, she likely won’t be the last to die from serving as a paid surrogate.

As Attorney General of Idaho, you are uniquely positioned to investigate the circumstances of this tragedy, and more importantly, to prevent others like this from happening again. The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBCN) respectfully asks that you launch a public inquiry to find out exactly what happened.

The commercial surrogacy market, which is illegal in many European countries, Canada and some states, is exploding throughout the United States. This practice often targets and exploits low income women, notably military wives, and puts them physically at risk. Because of growing demand in this emerging baby market, hodge-podge and inconsistent laws throughout the U.S., and a general lack of understanding of this issue, more tragedies such as Ms. Brown and her twins are sure to occur.

As Idaho’s chief law enforcement officer, your actions could have a profound effect in your state and across the country.

Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A.,
President, Center for Bioethics and Culture Network