Saturday, 29 January 2011

Surrogacy objectifies women and commodifies children

Melinda Tankard-Reist (pictured), an Australian pro-life bioethicist, has written an excellent article analysing the wrongness of surrogacy. I've posted some choice quotes from Melinda's article below.

From "Gestational carrier is an ugly term" by Melinda Tankard-Reist, The Australian, 19 January:
  • "The objectification of women's bodies and commodification of childbirth came together yesterday in a single antiseptic phrase contained in the announcement of a second child for actress Nicole Kidman and her musician husband Keith Urban:
'Our family is truly blessed . . . to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier.'
  • "In those last two words, the woman whose body nurtured this child for nine months is stripped of humanity. The phrase is reminiscent of other terms popular in the global baby-production industry, such as suitcase, baby capsule, oven and incubator. The detached language views women as disposable uteruses. This dismantling of motherhood denies the psychological and physiological bonds at the heart of pregnancy."
  • "Of course the birth of any baby is worthy of celebration. But that doesn't mean we should avoid hard questions about the fragmentation of motherhood, about a child who may wonder about their birth mother and why she is not raising them."
  • "In the US commodification of a child knows few limits. Journalist Bill Wyndham, pretending to be a single, HIV-positive gay man, was told by a surrogacy company he'd make a perfect dad. He was, however, not allowed to adopt a puppy from the dog pound."
  • "The process of pregnancy, labour and delivery followed by summoning extraordinary reserves of strength to surrender that baby, cannot be reduced to the science fiction that the woman who does all this is merely a 'gestational carrier'."
Comments on this blog? Email them to
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy