Lawyer's Baby-Placing Agency Provides Abortion Alternative

Date: 1976-12-22

By John Moody

Chicago (UPI) - Seymour Kurtz, a Chicago Attorney, says he is in a position "superior to God" when it comes to finding homes in the United States for unwanted Mexican babies.

Kurtz, president of Easter House, a licensed adoption agency, said American couples take custody of Mexican-born infants from an affiliated orphanage Casa Del Sur. The Adoptive parents bring the children into the United States after appearing before Mexican court and immigration officials. in an interview, Kurtz said the flat fee for and adoption to an American couple was $5,000. He subsequently denied he specified that figure, saying the fee paid by European and Americans ranged from $1,000 to $4,000 and that the average for 1975 was $2,200. The fee he said, is paid to Tzyril Foundation, a holding company, and not directly to him. Kurtz is president of Tzyril.

Kurtz's adoption agency is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The babies are provided by Casa Del Sur, his Mexico City agency.

"Deny it? I'm proud of it", he said in an interview. "God gives children who we think shouldn't have them, and does not give them to people who would make good parents. So we try to correct that. We put ourselves in a position superior to God, if you will."

Kurtz provides an alternative to abortion and thus has the support of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Mexico City. Kurtz proudly presents a letter from the prelate, thanking him for his humanitarian services.

"I'm interested in high-volume, low-cost operation", Kurtz said. "That way we can serve as many would-be parents as possible".

"When a woman come to my orphanage, she is usually pregnant and unmarried. Sometimes she says she is considering having an abortion and I try to talk her out of that. I put her up for the term of pregnancy, pay for her food and clothing, and any of the other needs she may have. When she has the child, I make arrangements to place it with a family."

Kurtz has the adoption business down to a proportional science.

"Out of every five women who come to me, I give three babies to Mexican families free of charge, One of five women will, in the end probably decide to keep her baby and that's fine. The fifth baby, I place with an American family, for a standard fee of $5,000."

My theory is that the Americans must pay enough for me to handle all five of those children," he said.

"What we try to do is match the skin color of the children with that of the parents. The lightest-skinned babies are usually placed with American couples, while the darker skins stay in Mexico. There is no way blond parents are going to be happy if we saddle them with a baby that looks black."

"I'm a smart lawyer, " Kurtz said. "The law says a non-licensed agency can't receive compensation for placinsg a child. But I am a licensed agency. Everything I do is black and white. I leave the gray areas to the hacks."

That doesn't wash with Tom Felder, a child welfare administrator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services,

"As a licensed agency, Kurtz is allowed to charge any fee he pleases under the law as it now stands," Felder said. "But the appendages (the racial overtones)" he adds have cast aspersions on his firm and make all his firms dealing in adoptions, including this department, look bad in the public eye."

Unlike law in some states, Mexican law does not prohibit paying compensation to natural mothers who give up babies.

"I pay for the housing and the food of the Mexican mothers for a period of time after their babies are delivered," Kurtz said. "If that's illegal, then the law is immoral. And I think any law that precludes a person from giving gifts and some charity to those mothers is wrong."

Under a treaty between the two nations, courts in any state must recognize adoptions approved in Mexican court "even if the procedure doesn't meet the state's requirements", Kurtz said.

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