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Thousands of Minnesota families wanting to have a baby are thwarted by infertility. Gestational surrogacy is one of the ways an infertile couple can overcome this problem. Although this approach has been working well for both intended parents and the women who serve as surrogates in Minnesota, there are currently no state standards for surrogacy. In this regard, Minnesota is an outlier among neighboring states. Clear standards for both intended parents and potential surrogates are needed to ensure that the practice in Minnesota continues to work well for couples with infertility who wish to start or grow their family (“New push to rein in surrogacy,” Jan. 29).

The recent Legislative Commission on Surrogacy highlighted some differences of opinion regarding how to approach this issue, but there are several steps that all agree should and could be taken this legislative session. These include mental health screenings and independent legal counsel for all parties, physical exams for potential surrogates, and clarification of parentage in state law so that parents having a baby via surrogacy no longer have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to adopt their own biological child. I encourage the Legislature to enact these initial steps now to help maintain surrogacy as a safe and reliable option for our patients struggling with infertility.

Dr. Douglas J. Creedon, Rochester

The writer is chair of the Minnesota section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

• • •

The Jan. 29 article states that “surrogacy opponents argue that people don’t have the right to have children just because they want them.” I have read countless stories (in this very paper) of children abused or killed by biological parents, and so it would seem that the bigger problem is that not everyone who can have a child should. Parents who go through the surrogacy process are well-screened, psychologically stable, and committed to raising a child even before conception.

My spouse and I are parents of two children through surrogacy. No amount of money could ever be traded for what our surrogates gave of themselves, nor for what we received from them. Our kids need never doubt that they are wanted, because, well, their birth was in no way an accident. We continue to have ongoing relationships with their birth mothers, who are an important part of our kids’ lives and members of our extended family.

I don’t have the market cornered on being a good parent, but we teach our kids to respect others, to be truthful, to accept responsibility for their actions, and to never force spiritual beliefs on others. It would be wise for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which along with the Minnesota Family Council is leading the campaign to tighten restrictions on surrogacy in Minnesota, to consider these same values, and spend time cleaning up its own backyard before meddling in ours.

Paige Rohman, Bloomington

RESPONDING TO TRUMP

This presidency is damaging even under the ‘Ventura model’

D.J. Tice (Jan. 29) hopes that the Trump presidency will follow the “Ventura model” — an undignified yet workable stewardship. He forgets two things.

First, that political blunders have human consequences. Even if Trump’s policies don’t hold up for long, they will harm. They will harm Americans who need health insurance, immigrants and refugees looking for safety and a better life; public school students seeking education; women who need health care; citizens who want to vote, and Muslims, people of color and LGBTQ folks who face violence and the stripping of their rights.

Second, that Trump’s vision of America is not merely negative. Not in the same way that Democrats’ criticisms of America often are. Criticism is needed to address the problems that America faces and will always face. What America doesn’t need is Trump’s racist, xenophobic demagoguery. We don’t need his incitements to violence or his complete disinterest in truth-telling. We don’t need his callous approach to the rule of law. I reserve the right to be outraged any time he threatens my rights or safety or those of my neighbors.

Tice is wrong about one more thing: I certainly would feel better with Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio at the helm.

Meg Reid, Minneapolis

• • •

This moderate Republican attended a social function recently with a group of predominantly Democratic friends. The conversation was lively, as always, and eventually swung to politics, as usual. The Democrats were whining that it’s all the Republicans’ fault. I responded that unless Democrats get their game together, it is game over. I was pleased to read the Feb. 3 opinion pages (both sides of the spread), which effectively put forth the same message.

The Democratic agenda has been sidetracked, hijacked by alt-left concerns such as transgender and similar narrow issues. Twenty-five states now have Republican-dominated leadership, and Republicans now dominate Congress and the presidency. Minnesota’s comedian senator needs to focus on issues rather than grandstand.

There are many moderate Republicans like me who do not favor President Trump’s recent actions; they are anti-American, divisive, and not good for the economy or the people. Moderate Republicans (examples: Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) could join with mainstream Democrats to counter him. However, until the Democrats get back in the game, that won’t happen.

Thomas P. Moyer, Golden Valley

ST. LOUIS PARK

This must be the place? It was for me — and it has currency

My cohorts were born during World War II, the children and grandchildren of immigrants. St. Louis Park was a new suburb, close to the real city and without Edina’s restrictions (“The star power of St. Louis Park,” Jan. 29). Many of our parents hadn’t been able to go to college during the Depression and said, “Get an education. Nobody can take that away from you.” The three kids in my family dutifully earned seven university degrees. Before Thomas Friedman’s high school journalism teacher, there was “Echo” adviser Hazel Moffat, who taught the rare skills of thinking while composing at the typewriter. I could skip the handwritten draft of all those term papers required in college! Some years ago, following a group’s confrontational meeting with U.S. Sen. Al Franken, I saw him from across the parking lot as he walked with his staff. I shouted, “You have to trust me! I’m a St. Louis Park girl!” The comedian laughed.

Lucia Wilkes Smith, Minneapolis

THE FUNNY PAGES

Just the diversion we need. (But why isn’t it diverse)?

In economic terms, gloom is cheap and plentiful. Hope is rare and dear. I feel an imperative to mine the newspaper for good news first. Scientific breakthroughs, Harvey Mackay’s upbeat essays — and of course the irrepressible James Lileks, who turns the world upside down and shakes it so that laughter falls out like loose change; all protect my stash of hope.

But most of all, I am fascinated by the comics. Like great poetry, distilled wisdom is imparted with seemingly spare effort. After I read them, I can appreciate the humor in everyday life and I can “soldier on” like Sarge. It is a sublime distraction that breaks through the plentiful gloom and helps put life into perspective. Then I can face, digest and evaluate the “real” news with the sense we will survive. Be grateful for the little things, get over ourselves and have a good laugh. Not a bad way to start the day.

Betty Ann Addison, Fridley

• • •

This past Sunday morning, I was looking for something to entice my young overnight guests to read. “Aha!” I thought. “The Sunday comics!” But my guests happen to live in beautiful black skin. And I could not help but notice that the Sunday comics had no black faces. What’s with that?

Ouch.

Sandy Spieler, Minneapolis