Michigan lawmakers challenge ban on surrogacy

NOW: Michigan lawmakers challenge ban on surrogacy

NILES, Mich.-- Michigan Democrats say they want to "modernize" state laws on surrogacy. Michigan is the only state that has a ban on the practice of someone carrying a baby for other intended parents. 

It's a misdemeanor in the state, and those convicted could be slapped with a $10,000 fine or one year in prison. 

The "Assisted Reproduction and Surrogacy Parentage Act" is a packet of bills that would expand state law to allow surrogacy and the contracts that typically go with it. 

It passed in the house last week. 

Local Democratic Representative Joey Andrews voted in favor. 

"Really hard to believe we had laws like that on the books before this,” Andrews said in a message to ABC57. “This will be such a huge deal for so many people trying to start a family."

Surrogacy has been banned in Michigan since 1988. 

Conservative advocacy group, The Heritage Foundation, argues surrogacy comes with unique moral and ethical issues, and could lead vulnerable women being exploited.

But a lot of families who want children may not be able to have them the traditional way.

According to the Michigan Fertility Alliance, it's not uncommon for women seeking a surrogate to go out of state. So, some lawmakers want to make this option available in the mitten state.

"Surrogacy should be an option because if you want to be a parent and you have what it takes to be a parent, then you should have that opportunity, even if your body doesn't allow you to,” said Niles local, Martina Gross. “And if you can get help, that would be great. It's just like adoption, but better." 

The bill has passed the Michigan house and now goes to the state senate. 

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