SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a 48-page bill that would amend, repeal or enact 121 different sections in the Utah Code redefining the legal rights of a mother, father and child.
The Uniform Parentage Act's sponsor Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said the bill is needed to replace parts of a 14-year-old surrogacy law struck down by a federal judge last year.
Under current law, it is a class B misdemeanor to contract with a woman to carry a child for profit. The law also requires the name of the surrogate be listed on a birth certificate as the legal mother.
Hillyard's bill would change that to allow married couples who are unable to have a child to pay a surrogate and be recorded as the legal parents.
But couples arranging a surrogate pregnancy must be married, excluding cohabiting and gay couples.
Among its many provisions, the bill:
--Creates a registry for the biological fathers of children in adoption cases.
--Establishes detailed rules for how and when genetic testing can be done to determine paternity.
--Creates a process whereby "presumed" paternity can be challenged.
--Allows contracts for surrogate mothers, but only if the biological mother has medical problems that prevent her from carrying the child, the surrogate mother has given birth to her own children prior to the surrogate child and the agreement is approved by a court.
--Protects the rights of men who have a father relationship with their children, only to find out they were not the biological father.
Hillyard said the bill ventures into uncharted territory. He added a clause delaying the implementation of the law until May 2005 to allow lawmakers to study the issues over the next year.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)