Bioethics in American politics. Donald Trump’s vow to remove the right to citizenship to babies born in the United States to immigrants and non-citizens has an unexpected bioethical angle. As Australian surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page points out, this could put a dent in the booming US surrogacy market.
At the moment, a baby born in the US to a surrogate mother automatically bcomes a US citizen under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. This makes commercial surrogacy in the US a popular market with wealthy foreigners, especially Chinese. “There is rarely a surrogacy law conference I go to in the US where the subject of the 14th Amendment is brought up in conference presentations or discussions amongst delegates,” says Page.
The 14th Amendment was introduced in the Reconstruction Era to protect slaves. In 1857, before the Civil War, they had been deemed not to be citizens by the US Supreme Court – “they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect,” according to Chief Justice Roger Taney.
As Page points out, if Trump carries through with his threat, the consequences for the surrogacy industry will be dire: