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Over the weekend, TMZ broke a story about the Romney family that many find both compelling and confusing.
Mitt Romney’s son Tagg hired a surrogate to carry his twin sons, David Mitt and William Ryder, who were born in May of this year. The surrogacy contract provided by the Romney family included some interesting verbiage as it relates to a topic Mitt Romney the politician has established a firm stance on -- abortion.
According to TMZ, the following statements are included in the contract:
"If in the opinion of the treating physician or her independent obstetrician there is potential physical harm to the surrogate, the decision to abort or not abort is to be made by the surrogate."
"In the event the child is determined to be physiologically, genetically or chromosomally abnormal, the decision to abort or not to abort is to be made by the intended parents. In such a case the surrogate agrees to abort, or not to abort, in accordance with the intended parents' decision."
"Any decision to abort because of potential harm to the child, or to reduce the number of fetuses, is to be made by the intended parents."
This is a contract that empowers the surrogate to abort the fetuses if physicians alert her to any potential physical harm. This does not require that her life be endangered, but simply that she has reason to fear physical harm from the pregnancy. This is an option that Romney's own children and grandchildren would not have under a Romney presidency, as he has vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Tagg Romney contract also allows for the Romneys to abort if testing finds a defect, be it chromosomal, genetic or physiological (think Down Syndrome, dwarfism or a partially formed brain), with the fetus or fetuses. The Romneys also asked the surrogate to agree to abortions to reduce the number of fetuses -- perhaps having learned a lesson or two from Octomom.
These are all reasonable things to include in such a contract. It respects the right of the surrogate to protect her own body from harm and it respects the rights of the intended parents to have a reasonable number of children and to allow them the opportunity to decide if they are prepared for a special needs child.
The only remarkable part of the contract is that the grandfather of the twins, who paid for some portion of this, wishes to make reasonable contracts like the one his own son reached with his surrogate illegal, and would, conceivably, be able to make that happen should he reach the nation's highest office.