HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ Here are excerpts from Bergen County Superior Court Judge Harvey R. Sorkow's ruling in the Baby M case Tuesday. He upheld the surrogate contract under which the child was born, gave custody to the girl's father, William Stern, and terminated the parental rights of the baby's mother, Mary Beth Whitehead.

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''The primary issue to be determined by this litigation is what are the best interests of a child until now called Baby M. All other concerns raised by counsel constitute commentary. That commentary includes the need to determine if a unique arrangement between a man and woman, unmarried to each other, creates a contract. If so, is the contract enforceable; and if so, by what criteria means and manner. If not, what are the rights and duties of the parties with regard to custody, visitation and support.''

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''There can be no solution satisfactory to all in this kind of case. The court will seek to achieve justice for the child.''

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''Unfortunately, the law is slow to react to the rapid advance of science and changing human behavior. ... as of this date not one state ... has adopted a law that specifically addresses ... the concept of surrogate parenting although many studies are in process and legislation has been introduced.''

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''The issues and dimensions of surrogacy are still evolving but it is necessary that laws be adopted to give our society a sense of definition and direction if the concept is to be allowed to further develop. With an increasing number of surrogate births, legislation can avoid harm to society, the family and the child. Some of the issues that need leigslation are: establishing standards for sperm donors, legitimacy of the child, rights of the biological father's spouse, rights of the biological mother's spouse, rights of the two biological actors as to each other and to the child, qualifications for the surrogate, is compensation to the surrogate to be allowed, concerns regarding the imperfect child. ... If there is no law, then society will suffer the negative aspects of this alternative reproduction vehicle that appears to hold out so much hope to the childless who make up a substantial segment of our society.''

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''Today, however, this court can only decide what is before it. ... This court must not manage morality or temper theology.''

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''This court finds that the issues raised by Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead - that is, the effect on the Whitehead children of the removal of Baby M and her possible placement with Mr. and Mrs. Stern are non-issues.''

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''The Whiteheads and the Sterns clearly understood the terms of the agreement and their obligations.''

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Mrs. Whitehead and Stern ''are strangers to each other. Their hurt ... is sincere and deep. The hurt to each of these parties as perceived by each of them at the hands of the other is genuine. ... the hurt perceived by these litigants ... is too great to premise a joint custody award. The rancor is too great. This court doubts that they can isolate their personal animosity and 'all of a sudden' cooperate for the child's benefit.''

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''This court is confronted with the circumstances where ... the parties to this litigation, with great joy and expectation, entered into a surrogate arrangement. It was an arrangement where both - the prospective family and the surrogate mother - wanted the child; albeit, for different purposes.''

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''The couple sought to bring into existence a child by conscious pre- arrangement which is as far as biologically possible genetically their own. The surrogate consciously chose to bear a child for another couple with the understanding that she will not contest but will consent to their adoption of it.''

''So long as there is no legislation and some court action in surrogacy arrangements is required, the child born of surrogacy will be protected in New Jersey. If there is compliance with the contract ... adoption will be necessary; hence court inquiry about the best interests must take place. If there is non-compliance ... as in this case, best interest is still litigated with protection to the child ...''

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''...(An) argument against surrogacy is that the surrogate mother will be exploited. To the contrary. It is the private adoption that has that great potential ... In the private adoption, the woman already is pregnant. The biological father may be unknown or at best uninterested in his obligations. The woman may want to keep the child but cannot do so for financial reasons. There is the risk of illegal consideration being paid to the mother. In surrogacy, none of these 'downside' elements appear.''

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''...(Another) argument is that to produce or deal with a child for money denigrates human dignity. To that premise, this court urgently agrees. The law of adoption in New Jersey does prohibit the exchange of any consideration for obtaining a child. The fact is, however, that the money to be paid to the surrogate is not being paid for the surrender of the child to the father. ''

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''...(Another) argument against surrogacy is that it will undermine traditional notions of family. How can that be when the childless husband and wife so very much want a child? They seek to make a family. ... The male gave his sperm; the female gave her egg in their pre-planned effort to create a child - thus, a contract.''

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''This court holds ... that in New Jersey, although the surrogacy contract is signed, the surrogate may nevertheless renounce and terminate the contract until the time of conception. ... However, once conception has occurred, the parties' rights are fixed.''

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''This court finds that (Mary Beth Whitehead) has changed her mind, reneged on her promise and now seeks to avoid her obligations.''

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The parties ''understood what they were doing. They understood the contract terms.''

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''While a state could regulate, indeed should and must regulate the circumstances under which parties enter into reproductive contracts, it could not ban or refuse to enforce such transactions altogether without complling reason.''

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''...this court concludes and holds that the surrogate parenting agreement is a valid and enforceable contract ... The rights of the parties to contract are constitutionally protected under the 14th Amendment ... This court further finds that Mrs. Whitehead has breached her contract in two ways: by failing to surrender to Mr. Stern the child born to her and Mr. Stern and by failing to renounce her parental rights to that child.''

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''Melissa's best interest will be served by being placed in her father's sole custody.''

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''Enforcing the contract will leave Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead in the same position that they were in when the contract was made. To not enforce the contract will give them the child and deprive Mr. Stern of his promised benefits. This court therefore will specifically enforce the surrogate parenting agreement to compel delivery of the child to the father and to terminate the mother's parental rights.''

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''It is necessary at all times, in using any measure for Melissa, to note with emphasis and concern that she is a special child - at risk - because of her origins and the extraordinary publicity ...''

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''This court enters judgment in favor of plaintiffs as follows: the surrogate parenting agreement ... will be specifically enforced. The prior order of the court giving temporary custody to Mr. Stern is herewith made permanent. Prior orders of visitation are vacated. The parental rights of the defendant Mary Beth Whitehead are terminated. Mr. Stern is formally adjudged the father of Melissa Stern ... the defendants (will be restrained) from interfering with the parental and custodial rights of the (Sterns) ... The $10,000 (fee) ... shall be the property of Mary Beth Whitehead.''

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''Melissa needs stability and peace, so that she can be nurtured in a loving environment free from chaos and sheltered from the public eye. This court says Melissa deserved nothing less - stability and peace.''

End Excerpts