On Friday, a judge sentenced Erickson to 5 months in prison, 9 months of home confinement and to pay a $70,000 fine for her role in masterminding a scheme to create babies and sell them (for more than $100,000 each) to couples after falsely telling them that the original parents had backed out for whatever reason.
I’ve written about Erickson and her baby-selling case here and here, and I am still disgusted and dismayed by her behavior. As one loathsome phrase in the article pointed out, Erickson and her cohorts
used numerous surrogate mothers to create an inventory of unborn babies that they would sell for more than $100,000 each
When I first read about her arrest and the unfolding story, I was shocked and disgusted. Now, I’m angry. Surrogacy is defined and treated legally differently in different states. Case law, as you can imagine, has not kept up with reproductive law when one can biologically be mother to a child through pregnancy but not be genetically related to that child. Such a situation becomes even more complicated when neither member of a couple is genetically related to a child they create and carry through a surrogacy arrangement. What a lot of courts end up falling back on is intent: who intends to parent the resulting child(ren)? Thinking of the situation in these terms often allows judges to assign legal rights to the parents who intend to parent the child regardless of genetic relationship.
Erickson’s crime, however, perverts this intention for she intentionally created children for no other reason than profit. The embryos she created and transferred to a gestational carrier have neither mothers nor fathers. They had no parents who intended for them to be, and for that, Erickson should be punished. Though those children may be loved purely and fully by their new families, it is painful to imagine their reaction when one day they are told that they were the result of not lust, not love, not intention or desire but profit.
And it is that for which Erickson must be punished and shunned.