The Rest of the Surrogacy Story: lesser known feminist critiques of commercial surrogacy
AbstractIn the summer of 2014, two surrogacy scandals provoked the Thai government’s crackdown on commercial surrogacy. The popular media’s coverage and analysis of these events have focused on four important concerns about commercial surrogacy, two of them practical, one justice-related, and one philosophical. According to my survey of its coverage, however, the media has yet to mention two lesser-known philosophical concerns about commercial surrogacy and their accompanying arguments: the Alienation/Split Self Argument and the Maternal Argument. There are feminists who voiced these arguments thirty years ago when surrogacy first became popular as an assisted reproductive technology, More recently, with the advent of reproductive tourism, specifically cross-border gestational surrogacy, other feminists have once again raised these arguments but without attracting the popular media’s attention. The Alienation/Split Self Argument and the Maternal Argument are both philosophical arguments rooted largely in experience and fundamentally concerned with the question “what does it mean to be and flourish as a human being?” The Alienation Argument criticizes the commercial surrogacy industry for fragmenting the surrogate and alienating her from her body, reproductive labor, and the product of her labor. The Maternal Argument criticizes the industry for ignoring or even undermining the surrogate’s maternal experience and the maternal-fetal relationship. With the mainstream ethical debate over commercial surrogacy largely occupied with practical and justice-related concerns, these feminist arguments could contribute to the debate in a new way by drawing attention to how the industry impacts the surrogate, and her flourishing, as a pregnant human being.
Forsythe, Sally (2014) The Rest of the Surrogacy Story: lesser known feminist critiques of commercial surrogacy. UNSPECIFIED thesis, UNSPECIFIED.