Babies as a product of someone else's labor

By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Rightgrrl Contributor
Founder, Jews For Life

July 19, 2001

At first, it was about women's rights in the workplace, and that led to reproductive self-interests, the reasoning behind abortion as a "choice." Commitment to marriage vows gave way to sexual experimentation. Mothers left home and abandoned their young children in day care centers. Selfishness never retreats from those who seek it out, but beckons like the devil.

Technology is quickly intervening on behalf of selfishness. One report announced that soon, babies will be had without men - a boon for lesbian couples. Another story this week details how, if you long to have a baby, your fertilized egg can be harvested in a surrogate uterus. For those who abhor the sight of a belly swelling with life, science is here to help.

This is the outgrowth of the abortion-as-choice ethic; an insidious dehumanizing thing. First, it devalues the life of the baby. Once that occurs, the pregnancy state becomes irrelevant. Then, "choice" finishes its job by dehumanizing the souls of the mothers who find pregnancy irritating.

Remember when being pregnant was known as being "with child?" Well, the U.S. Supreme Court says there is no child now, so I guess that means women are "with zygote." An expectant mom would blush, and say, "My baby is due in June." Pregnancy, once welcomed as a blessing, is viewed by some as an uninvited leper.

I am childless, and not by choice. Perhaps that's why the current crop of selfish womb renters leaves me chilled. It's always about rights and conveniences - the woman's needs and pleasures. Rather than endure the short period of pregnancy, women arrange (through clinics) to hire surrogates whose wombs they rent. The fertilized eggs from one woman are implanted into the stand-in womb of another. Voila! Nine months later, the ready-made Mom is handed the product of someone else's labor.

Here are some reasons given by women who pursue wombless motherhood:

A working model felt a pregnancy would "lower her income."

A university professor worried that a pregnancy would result in her losing her tenure.

An executive with three sons felt a pregnancy would put her job at risk. Also, she wanted a girl this time, and arranged for a sex selection.

Childless women and infertile couples would be grateful for any baby, and the adoption process is grueling. Try adopting a child and demanding a sex preference. You will be rejected outright. So why is it when birth is scientifically engineered to please executive women, they are free to discriminate by sex?

The agencies that arrange and contract surrogate wombs offer a whole list of reasons why mothers who rent want to avoid pregnancy. Some fear the pain. Others don't want to live with stretch marks.

Yes. It's even come down to stretch marks.

If these women are so repelled by nine short months of the pregnancy process and would stop it for frivolous reasons, how can they be capable of loving their children after birth? Isn't it possible these women love themselves too much to be good mothers? What happens if a child gets sick, and needs medical care and attention? Is Mommy going to be more preoccupied with her investment portfolio?

Forget about renting wombs - these ladies need a new lease on life!

Being a parent should be a commitment - not to one's status, or appearance - but to loving a helpless human being who needs you more than you need to appeal to your vanity. Pregnancy is uncomfortable, often untimely, and yes, it can change your looks. That's too bad. Nine months of nature is supposed to be followed by eighteen years of nurture. Ladies, that's a whole lot tougher than living with stretch marks.

Copyright 2001 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.