I just read a very thoughtful article written by a French judge, blogging here (en français). He is against surrogacy, and argues that legislating for this practice threatens women's rights, mainly because they become objectified, reduced to their biological capacity as baby carriers.
Surrogacy sounds very appealing, when you think about it from an engineering point of view. Woman A is fertile, couple BC isn't, so let's do some biological engineering and get it over with. But it will all inevitably lead to injustice. The more widespread surrogacy becomes, especially because it involves money, the more poor women will suffer to service the needs of richer couples, heterosexual or gay. Suffering which can include physical damage, mental strain, emotional disturbance, hormone levels through the roof, and ultimately, giving away a part of one's self.
I'm sure that there are many examples of happy families, and happy surrogate mothers who found great satisfaction from the exchange. By reading the agency blurbs, that's all it is: selfless happiness, blissful martyrdom. And, after having read some of the litterature, everyone involved in the process is given adequate care.
But, when considering the greater good,allowing this to happen on a national - even international - level will lead to oppression. And didn't women fight, not so long ago, for their right to be considered human, instead of simply serving the needs of men? So what, now, women should service the needs of rich couples?
And what is so wrong with adoption?
Are we objectifying the world so much that we see no value in a child that is not, technically, our own?
For some reason, the story of baby Moses keeps on coming to my mind:
Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it. She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children.
Exodus 2: 1-6
Compassion being the operative word in this passage.
I know adoption can also be complicated and corrupt, and poses ethical questions too. But adopting seems far more involved an action towards having a child than the passive ordering of a baby through surrogacy. Especially since today, adoptive parents don't ask their handmaids to fetch the baby, but go instead through gruelling months of applications, visits, tests.
Although biological technology today is hyper-modern, the mentality behind surrogacy seems... archaic and self-serving, an example of individualism aided by scientific progress. And I'm not sure I like where that's headed...