A recent Washington Post Op-Ed from Kathleen Parker, published May 24, alleges that surrogacy exploits women and commodifies them as “ovens.” She also alleges that half the surrogates in the United States are military wives, and that certain populations are “targeted” by surrogacy brokers. You can read the whole article here. You can also read the response, written by the Director of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, here.
While Ms. Parker is certainly entitled to her opinion, it is my opinion that she is misinformed. Surrogates freely choose to help families, and they are not being exploited. Her depiction of surrogates as military wives or other targeted populations is simply untrue. Many surrogates are proud of their ability to help these families. And, they are rightfully and justly compensated for doing the same. They make the decision to become surrogates without being oppressed, despite Ms. Parker’s claims. If anything, her opinion sounds rather condescending, as she makes her case for women being unable to make a decision to serve as a surrogate independently. It’s odd for Ms. Parker, a feminist, to essentially make an argument allegedly for an entire group of women, as if these women cannot make their own decisions and speak for themselves. Sounds rather patronizing to me.