NORTH HOLLYWOOD ( — Melissa Cook says she became a surrogate to give life, not to take it away.

And that’s exactly what she alleges the single dad, who hired her, wanted her to do when she says he asked to reduce the triplet pregnancy down to twins.

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“Babies were moving around me in. I heard their heart beats,” she said.

Cook refused despite, she says, being threatened with a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

Now, she’s suing to see the children who are now 3 months old.

“You know, I protected these kids. I saved their lives,” she said.

Cook’s attorney called surrogacy a “dirty business” in a news conference Tuesday.

He contends the triplets’ constitutional rights have been violated.

“I would ask the question of how America became so cruel that we’re treating children as if they were products to be bought and sold,” said Harold Cassidy, Cook’s attorney.

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In court paperwork, Cook’s lawyers state that the father’s has said he can’t afford three babies and that C.M., as he is known, is “deaf, has never been married and lives in Georgia with two elderly parents. His mother is ill, confined to bed, and needs nursing care.”

“I want a custody determination done to see if C.M. can take care of the babies,” she said, adding that if he’s not able to do so, she “will take responsibility for one or all of the children.”

This was the second time Cook acted as a surrogate for which she was promised nearly $30,000 for her services.

The father’s attorney says the only reason he asked Cook to reduce the pregnancy to twins was because Cook’s doctors advised it was the safest option for a healthy pregnancy.

In a statement, Robert Walmsley, the father’s attorney, says: “My client is capable and committed to all 3 of these kids. He’s wanted children for years.”

“I have truly managed thousands of these kinds of arrangements and never have I had litigation like this,” said Lori Meyers, a reproductive attorney specializing in surrogacy, which she describes as a “beautiful gift.”

She doesn’t think Cook has a case.

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“Melissa, as a repeat surrogate, had an opportunity through the agency, the psychologist, her lawyer, to make sure that that agreement reflected what she was willing to do,” Meyers said.