Maternal surrogacy has become a major item on the reproductive-rights agenda and a rapidly expanding segment of the innovative procreation market. Concocted by whatever means, a human embryo is implanted in a “rented womb” of an unrelated woman—usually a very poor woman—for incubation, birth, and delivery of a full-term baby to a paying couple that may or may not be heterosexual. Having embraced every emerging gender deviation, the world’s sex revolutionaries are now promoting surrogacy. Indigent young females from poor countries such as India can earn lots of money simply by carrying to birth the child of a foreign couple.
At a recent press conference, the Italian Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, made an impassioned plea to halt this latest form of exploitation of poor women. She compared maternal surrogacy to “using a woman’s body as an oven for baking someone else’s cake,” and questioned to whom such a child really belongs .
The Minister went on to say that objecting to surrogacy was “not about being Catholic, secular, believer, non-believer, or atheist. . . . It is a question of culture.” This is not “generosity,” she added, as some proponents would have it. “I’ll believe this only when I see a rich woman lending her own uterus for her cleaning woman!”
As for the transposed child in formation, nature does not always collaborate to produce the desired outcome. Sometimes the child-bearer bonds with the infant in her womb and does not want to give up the child after its birth. Sometimes the child may be born deformed or have another unanticipated abnormality. Even twins can result whereas the “purchasing parents” ordered only one perfect child. What happens when these parents change their minds because their standards have not been met? At that point the “ill conceived” newborn faces an uncertain future. Does he or she become, to use Ms. Lorenzin’s analogy, a “spoilt cake” that is to be discarded by the “baker?” Can this become another facet of the “born alive abortion” movement?
Ms. Lorenzin urged her country to do its part to make surrogacy a core issue of women’s and children’s rights. Unfortunately, a better place for her to make such a plea would have been the United Nations, given that the UN uses a “rights-based approach” to everything it does. As a key slogan of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has it, UNFPA’s function is to deliver “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe.”
UNFPA apparently has not yet taken a position on the matter of surrogacy. As of this writing, a search on its website turns up numerous references to maternal mortality but none for surrogacy. Battles of women’s rights, children’s rights and LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) rights nonetheless are all the rage in the meetings associated with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. UNFPA may be struggling to reconcile the irreconcilable.
At her press conference, Ms. Lorenzin wore a T-shirt bearing a slogan that read: “Women’s bodies cannot be bought, cannot be sold and are not for rent.” On this and other occasions she has emphasized above all the child’s right to—and need for—two parents: a mother and a father. Ms. Lorenzin, a married mother of twins—a boy and girl under a year old—has turned her office into a small nursery. Speaking partly from experience, she seems to have the right perspective on the lives, well-being, and dignity of women and children wherever they maybe.
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—Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations.