TV personality Andy Cohen in Albany to fight for stronger surrogacy laws

June 11, 2019 05:52 PM

ALBANY - TV personality Andy Cohen joined Governor Andrew Cuomo at the state Capitol on Tuesday. They are fighting for stronger surrogacy laws.

The push is to legalize paid gestational surrogacy, in which a woman is compensated for carrying a baby. They want state lawmakers to pass the bill before the end of session.

New York is one of only three states that expressly forbids gestational surrogacy contracts.

Critics say the ban forces infertile or same-sex couples to find surrogates in other states, an expensive and difficult process unavailable to many couples.

Cohen, who is gay, has a biological son born through a surrogate. He has lived in New York for 30 years, but had to travel out of state to find a surrogate. Cohen says he was shocked to find out surrogacy is illegal in New York.

"Come to New York from the Midwest so I could be free to live my life but I have to go to California to have a child. Seems odd," said Cohen.

"How can New York state be one of the three that doesn't allow surrogacy? It is repugnant to everything we believe and everything we are. And give me the possible rationale," said Governor Cuomo.

Not everyone agrees with the proposed legislation. Activist and journalist Gloria Steinem spoke out on Tuesday in a letter circulated at the Capitol and over social media. It read in part:

"Under this bill, women in economic need become commercialized vessels for rent, and the fetuses they carry become the property of others."

Steinam continued with:

"The bill ignores the socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the reproductive commercial surrogacy industry, and puts disenfranchised women at the financial and emotional mercy of wealthier and more privileged individuals."

But both Cohen and Cuomo say it is the emotional drive that matters most.

"My surrogate, she's absolutely incredible. We were partners from the beginning. She viewed this experience as an opportunity to give me the ultimate gift. She gave me life. She gave me my son," said Cohen.

The Senate was planning to vote Tuesday on repealing the ban. Cuomo says he expects the Senate to pass it, but it will still need support from the Assembly.


Jacquie Slater & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved