I just recently had the privilege of being on air with Speak Your Piece with Darian Dudrick on Big Horn Radio located in Wyoming addressing newfound concerns of surrogacy in the state. I never thought I would have so much involvement with the “Equality State” as I have in the past couple months, but it’s a connection I am glad I have formed and I don’t see ending any time soon.
Many of you probably already know that Wyoming was dubbed the “Equality State” after a long history of pioneering ladies like Annie Oakley and those that fought for equal rights. Wyoming was the first territory to grant “female suffrage” and became the first state in the United States to allow women to vote, serve on juries and hold public office.
Knowing this history about the state of Wyoming, I was surprised when Jennifer and I were contacted by a concerned citizen in Wyoming in early 2021, distressed about a bill that would erase birth mothers from birth certificates in cases of “gestational agreements”; House Bill No. HB0073 “Birth Certificates-gestational agreements”. He had every right to be concerned. How can a state that prides itself on equality be so inequitable to surrogate mothers and the children born out of such agreements? It seems like a step backwards.
Of course, immediately, Jennifer and I went to work with the local community and started writing to lawmakers in Wyoming; urging them to rethink this bill. Unfortunately, the bill passed. We lost. But we also gained. After the discouraging passing of HB0073, we were invited to Wyoming to give a tour of presentations explaining the harms of surrogacy and the harms to children by removing the birth mother from the birth certificate. It was as if a light bulb went off. The message was very well received.
Since then, we have been engaging with the policymakers and community members of Wyoming on a regular basis, educating through platforms like radio shows and hoping to help shape future laws that protect women and children.
Even though laws are passing that undermine the inherent value of women and of children, I remain optimistic. Lawmakers are curious about surrogacy and are seeking to educate themselves so that they can start to protect women and children from the commodification of wombs and the selling of babies. Community members in Wyoming are skeptical and are starting to figure out that there’s more to the story of surrogacy than the rosy picture #BigFertility likes to paint.
Join us. Join Wyoming. Reach out and contact your lawmakers. Write letters to your local representatives. Join the fight by visiting stopsurrogacynow.com and signing the petition, now available in over 12 languages.
- Kallie Fell, MS, BSN, RN, started her professional career as a scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center utilizing a Master of Science degree in Animal Sciences with an emphasis on Reproductive Physiology and Molecular Biology from Purdue University. While assisting in the investigation of endometriosis and pre-term birth, Kallie simultaneously pursued a degree in nursing with hopes of working with women as a perinatal nurse. After meeting Jennifer at a conference, Kallie became interested in the work of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and started volunteering with the organization. It is obvious that Kallie is passionate about women’s health. She continues to work, as she has for the past 6 years, as a perinatal nurse and has worked with the CBC since 2018, first as a volunteer writer, then as our staff Research Associate, and now as the Executive Director. In 2021, Kallie co-directed the CBC’s newest documentary, Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender? Kallie also hosts the popular podcast Venus Rising and is the Program Director for the Paul Ramsey Institute.