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Surrogate mother who was pressured to abort sues for custody

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The surrogate mother who fought to save the triplets she was carrying from abortion gave birth to the three boys in California on February 22.

Melissa Cook, 47, agreed to carry a child for CM, a 50-year-old single, deaf man living in Georgia with his elderly parents. She was to receive $33,000 for the first baby and $6k for each additional child.

At about one month gestation, after discovering she was carrying triplets, Cook received a copy of an email between CM and his lawyer stating that CM couldn’t afford the doctor visits or the babies and wanted Cook to abort all three children.

According to People.com, over the next few weeks, CM sent additional emails telling her to abort one of the babies. Cook has said that he threatened her with legal and financial damages if she did not abort, including not paying her for the surrogacy. Cook did not back down and refused to abort.

“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” Cook said back in November.

The babies, conceived using CM’s sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor, were born 7 weeks early and taken from Cook immediately after birth. She has not been allowed to see them or receive updates on their health.

“We have a mother who loves them, who fought for them, who defended their life, who stands ready to take care of them,” Cook’s lawyer Harold Cassidy said. “You can’t tell a mother who gives birth to children that what happens to the children is none of her business.”

CM, who has claimed he wanted Cook to abort out of concern for her health and the health of the babies, was awarded full custody after the boys were born. However, Cook is appealing that decision.

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Laws favor biological parents over surrogates and Cook has a tough battle ahead of her, however, she wants the legal right to be the mother of the triplets and is also challenging California’s surrogate law in federal court, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Cook’s lawsuit states that “C.M. depleted his life savings paying for the infertility doctors, paying the surrogacy broker, paying the anonymous ova donor, paying the lawyers and putting money into trust for the surrogate,” and those financial strains have fueled “his demand that Melissa have an abortion because he could not financially afford the children and was otherwise incapable of raising the children.”

Johnny Dodd, a writer for People Magazine, noted that the surrogacy broker did not have a home study with CM, and CM never meet with Cook before or during the pregnancy. Dodd called surrogacy “an unregulated industry here in California” and Cook feels that the situation and laws have reduced her to a “breeding animal.”

“Some man who donates sperm on the other side of the country is a stranger to that child, so much so that it is nothing for him to demand that the mother who loves the children she’s carrying has to kill one of them,” Cook’s attorney told Fox News. “So his focus was not on the children, his focus was on what he wanted, what he could do, what he was capable of without any regard for what’s best for the children. And quite frankly, for a state to pass a statute that says the children should be turned over to someone who admits that he cannot care for the children is not good at all, and by the way, the way it’s written, it is not constitutional.”

C.M. has released a statement regarding the media coverage of the pregnancy and birth of his children.

“There have been many misrepresentations made about this matter,” he said. “I have addressed those misrepresentations in the appropriate forum -the judicial system -and the appropriate Court has heard both sides and issued a correct ruling based on California law and any constitutional issues that there may be. I stand by the Court’s ruling.

“My interest is in protecting my three children,” he added. “I continue to have concern for the health and welfare of the surrogate and wish to avoid her having unnecessary stress through a public presentation. I have no interest in sensationalizing the situation.”

Cassidy, a well-known pro-life and anti-surrogacy lawyer says that “[Surrogacy] is an attempt to reduce women to an object, or a breeding animal. You can doctor this up, you can play word games with it, but this is simply and purely the sale of a child.”

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