British feminist throws a grenade into surrogacy debate

Julie Bindel, one of Britain’s best-known radical feminists, wrote a fierce critique of commercial surrogacy in Prospect, a progressive magazine. Bindel is a “political lesbian” and has campaigned for many years against prostitution, pornography and rape, and more recently against transgenderism. Here are a few paragraphs from her article, “Why Commercial Surrogacy Is Little Better Than Commercial Sex.”

I worry about all the children born to surrogate mothers. None of the protections put in place by reputable adoption agencies prior to parental approval, such as criminal background checks, mandatory attendance at adoptive parent preparation classes, ensuring adoptive families are medically, financially and mentally stable and full home visits are required. Although some surrogacy clinics may perform these checks, they are not under any legal obligation.

Surrogacy is exploitation, whether done for profit or altruistic purposes. The harm done to surrogates is well documented, especially now that former surrogates are speaking out about their experiences. The law should reflect this and prohibit all formal surrogacy arrangements. Surrogate mothers themselves – lured by the promise of money and by suggestions that surrogacy is altruistic and “helping a family” – should never be criminalized, but brokers and other profiteers should. TO DO.

The buying and selling of women’s bodies for reproduction is supported by many on the left – a notable exception to their usual critique of capitalism. In fact, surrogacy in the United States is celebrated and seen as little different than buying a plane ticket. Women in the system have no name, no voice, no identity. The state allows the trafficking of their reproductive system, with a high risk of maternal mortality, protecting only his right to be paid. The surrogacy business is similar to the sex trafficking and mail order marriage industries – in that the female body, in one way or another, is the commodity for sale.

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