A Canadian couple discovered their fetus had Down syndrome, and they wanted an abortion. But because they were using a surrogate, their case got a lot more complicated.
According to the National Post, the surrogate who was carrying the fetus didn't want to abort, and so the decision about the fate of a pregnancy became an issue of contract law. The surrogacy agreement stipulated that if the surrogate went ahead with the pregnancy, the biological parents would have no responsibility toward the resulting child. Some, however, feel that traditional legal strictures shouldn't apply in this case. Says bioethicist Juliet Guichon,
Should the rules of commerce apply to the creation of children? No, because children get hurt. It's kind of like stopping the production line: ‘Oh, oh, there's a flaw.' It makes sense in a production scenario, but in reproduction it's a lot more problematic.
It's certainly true that surrogate pregnancy is a lot more problematic than a production line. But if surrogacy agreements aren't binding contracts, the practice could potentially become even more problematic. And, asks Sally Rhoads of SurrogacyInCanada.ca, "Why should the intended parents be forced to raise a child they didn't want? It's not fair."
Abortion in cases of assisted reproduction is always controversial, in part because at some point, the parents involved did want a child — passionately enough to pay a lot of money, go through invasive treatments, and potentially contract with a third party. We tend to be especially hard on parents who change their minds after going through so much. But this case is even more complex than, say, selectively aborting fetuses conceived through IVF, because it involves another adult, who some would argue should also get a say in what she does with her body.