Family Planning, Adoption, and Surrogacy
There are special constitutional protections for reproductive medicine.
Family planning implicates the rights of fathers and mothers.
Surrogacy has legal implications for all participants.
Violation of adoption laws can result in criminal liability.
Full disclosure and careful investigation is critical in adoption and surrogacy.
Family planning issues have dominated medical law constitutional litigation for decades. Most precedent-setting litigation on the medical care practitioner–patient relationship has arisen in the context of contraception first, then abortion, and now surrogacy because these are areas with no general political consensus on the proper reach of the law. Even the Cruzan right-to-die decision was based on a law passed as part of an antiabortion legislative package.
This section treats family planning and surrogacy together because of their interrelated legal status. Adoption is included because it is a necessary legal building block for many surrogacy issues: there cannot be a valid surrogacy transaction unless the state laws on adoption and parental rights are appropriately considered. The legal controversies over the topics transcend even abortion because they deal with most intimate relationships and must balance the rights of three parties—mother, father, and child. Since the interests of these parties are often at odds, this will remain a controversial area of law.