If you're angry about the AIG scandal or Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme...Oh, and I am! So angry! GRRRR. Tell me where to unleash my rage, Saletan!
...check out what's happening to the infertile couples and surrogate mothers involved in a California womb brokerage. It's a familiar tale of vanishing funds and defaulted obligations. But this time, the potential loss is bigger than property. It's pregnancy.Um, I would maybe rather have a miscarriage than be homeless? Keep in mind, however, that I am an unnatural woman, kept barren though foul Trojan arts, and do not therefore lactate the milk of human kindness.
Anyway! Turns out that some ladies paid some other ladies to carry their fetuses to term, but paid that money into a company by the creepy and weirdly science-fictional name of SurroGenesis ("We thought we could make the babies better! Stronger! But they've turned on us! AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE") and then that company went totally bankrupt and lost all its pregnancy-funding money. So, now, the surrogates could conceivably choose to abort their pregnancies! Just like they could, you know, before any of this happened!
Thousands of women have hired themselves out as gestational surrogates. If you're the child's genetic mother, you can put a clause in the contract stipulating under what circumstances the surrogate can abort the pregnancy. But no court will enforce that clause...Damn the courts! Is there no way they can be forced to override a woman's legal right to terminate a pregnancy? Justice, why art thou blind?
...because you aren't the one who's pregnant. The surrogate is. She can choose abortion unilaterally. All you can do is stop paying her for carrying the child.Hmm, that's true! I guess it really is just a question of paying for the booties to be delivered. I am absolutely confident that there is no way this detour into a discussion of the ethics of booty purchase and manufacturing could be turned against me. After all, it's Saletan we're dealing with here.
But what if it's the other way around? What if you stop paying her first? If you had hired her to sew booties for your kid, she could respond to your nonpayment by halting work on the booties.
But her job wasn't to deliver booties. It was to deliver the kid. If she responds by halting work on the thing you've stopped paying for, that thing is your child.
BLAM! The patented Saletan Curveball, once again!
The reason that Saletan missed the boat last week - by focusing on the feelings of the "mother" whose fetus was implanted in the wrong uterus, then aborted by the uterus-haver in question, rather than the feelings of the woman who thought she had finally managed to get pregnant with her own child, only to find out that, thanks to her idiot doctor, she was wrong - is the same reason he misses the boat here, by focusing on undeniably wealthy folks who can pay for a surrogate pregnancy rather than women who agreed to get pregnant, under the condition that they would receive appropriate care and recompense, only to find that they were up a very expensive - and, I hear, physically unpleasant! - creek without a paddle. He doesn't care about the pregnant women. He barely even recognizes them as people. What he cares about are people who (he assumes, never having spoken to them) oppose abortions, and the fetuses who (are quite literally, due to the fact that they possess nothing which resembles consciousness or personhood, unable to) love them. The women, with their damnable autonomy and legal rights and whatnot, are just in the way.
Or, perhaps more accurately, this:
Reader, please note that the preceding two paragraphs of Saletan's column have both ended with the word "child." Not "fetus," child. Please also note that the article is illustrated with a seemingly disembodied pregnant belly and some breasts, sans face or any identifying features. These things are not unrelated! For, you see, when you and I look at a pregnant woman - indeed, perhaps even a woman carrying a surrogate pregnancy - we see this:
Whereas William Saletan, liberal Republican and poser of ethical quandaries for these modern times, sees this:
Or, perhaps more accurately, this:
For, you see, William Saletan loves the little children, and suffers them to come unto him. Just so long as they don't turn out to be girls.
Anyway, it's all worth it for the correction, which goes as follows:
Update, March 24: I originally invited readers to contact Vorzimer if they wanted to help the surrogates complete their pregnancies rather than abort them. In an email this evening, Vorzimer clarified that "there are no situations in which a surrogate has elected to abort because of this financial scandal."
Ha ha, WHOOPS.