Feb. 4th, 2008

bossymarmalade: blue eye with lashes of red flower petals (Default)
[ 14 Valentines - Day Three: Reproductive Rights ]

I am completely uninterested in bearing children. I always have been, despite constant assurances (from any and every person who feels it's their business to correct me about what I want for my own body and life) that "this will change" and "what about your future husband's opinion" and "oh, every woman eventually wants a baby". Yep, that's the way to convince me, all right -- heteronormative, sexist cliche!

At any rate, at least I can still buy birth control if I want, and I am educated and priviliged enough to make my own reproductive choices, because I live in the West.

If I were impoverished in India, I might be carrying rich people's children for money.

Every article you read on this subject is chock-full of weeping and grateful parents talking about the miracle of their new babies and Indian surrogates and their husbands talking about how grateful they are for the money and the chance to give happiness. Most of them are just reprints of the same AP article about a quiet town known for producing milk.

Apart from the truthout article (which, let's be honest, takes a disappointing turn for the wimpy at the end there), I found exactly two articles that were unwaveringly critical of the practice: one from The Christian Post noting that it's not the wonderful gift of life motivating surrogates, but their crushing poverty; and one from Qatar's English paper The Gulf Times detailing the emotional and social hardship inflicted on the surrogate mothers.

I am amazed that people can read these news reports with quotes like this from surrogate proponent Dr. Nayana Patel:
"Patel says she will not allow women to use their own eggs, in case they became too emotionally attached to the babies."
-- and think there's nothing wrong here.

This is our privilege at work. This is us *renting* poor, dark-skinned women to carry our babies, because heaven forbid we be denied biological children by either deity or nature should we desire them. This is us ignoring the fact that these women are doing it for the money, are forced to wear masks and live in secrecy, and are from a culture that still suffers the economic and emotional scars of colonialism and constantly faces pressures to be more Westernized.

Our reproductive rights are important, yes. But they are not so sacrosanct that we visit this sort of abuse on other women who don't have the choices, the money, or the power that we do.

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bossymarmalade: blue eye with lashes of red flower petals (Default)
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