Just the Sort of Contracts the Left Usually Condemns

Allow me to draw your attention to a recent article from The Week that addresses the issue of surrogacy from a politically left/progressive/liberal perspective.

Briefly stated, the argument of “Why the Left Should Oppose Commercial Surrogacy” is one based in principles of economic justice: commercial surrogacy “invariably involves wealthy couples renting poorer women’s bodies.”

Leftists have long argued that the morality of an economic arrangement cannot rest solely on the apparent consent of the parties to a contract. Even if a man consents to sweatshop wages, he is probably doing so out of an economic desperation that limits his freedom in a way not felt by his employer. Therefore, progressives argue, some contracts are immoral—namely those that exploit the powerlessness of the underprivileged. It is the role of government, then, to make such contracts unenforceable, and in so doing to equalize as much as possible the unfairness that can rend society.

Commercial surrogacy arrangements are just the sort of contracts that the left usually rightly condemns.

The argument highlights a much neglected fact about surrogacy that vividly demonstrates the economic injustice inherent to such arrangements:

very poor women are not generally surrogates—not because they don’t want to be, but because surrogacy agencies (and, by extension, their clients) don’t want them to be. Instead, there’s a sweet spot in the lower middle class in which the women are well-off enough to be desirable surrogates, but not well-off enough that renting their bodies to rich people is off the table.

The article concludes with a strong call for those on the left to oppose commercial surrogacy:

We need a faction standing up loudly and comprehensively for the poor, the exploited, the underprivileged.

This is an important piece that helps add to the multitude of reasons that surrogacy in all its forms should be opposed.


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