Kathryn Jean Lopez / January 18, 2020

Surrogacy, Exploitation, and Tragedy

Rachel weeps. That biblical mother weeping for her children is all I could think of when I heard that that a California woman named Michelle Reaves had died in childbirth.

Rachel weeps. That biblical mother weeping for her children is all I could think of when I heard that that a California woman named Michelle Reaves had died in childbirth. She had been serving for the second time as a surrogate for a family. And while the baby was born, Reaves, a wife and mother of two, did not survive.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has reportedly declared her desire to become a mother by adoption or surrogacy – a story that generated far more buzz than the tragic death of Reaves. Of course, adoption and surrogacy are very different things. In adoption, you are really placing the needs of a child above your own. In surrogacy, you are having your desires met in a way that we really haven’t fully considered ethically, morally or medically. Just because it can be done, should it be?

Jennifer Lahl, a nurse who is the founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, told me that that there are targeted internet ads offering $85,000 to California women to be a surrogate. You can imagine the temptation for a woman in need, believing that she can give the gift of life to another, when, in fact, she may just be being exploited. The inability to have a child the old-fashioned way can be the deepest heartache of one’s life, of a couple’s life, together. No one is denying that. But reproductive technology has become an industry, and who has protection of all human lives in view in the transaction?

Lahl recently worked with feminist Gloria Steinem to help educate people about the dangers of surrogacy. Being a surrogate can be risky, more risky than natural pregnancy, because of all the foreign elements being introduced into the body. It’s all quite new, but when a woman is being offered significant amounts of money, she is likely to overlook the dangers, which may be being downplayed to her anyway.

Reaves’ death deserves to be a major news story. Especially considering that just days ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged that a ban on surrogacy in his state be repealed, saying in his State of the State address: “New York’s surrogacy ban is based in fear, not love, and it’s past time we updated our antiquated laws to help LGBTQ couples and people struggling with fertility use commonplace reproductive technology to start families.”

In a June letter to Cuomo, Steinem and others said: “Our opposition to this bill emerges from our conviction that the legalization of commercial surrogacy contracts in New York state will undermine women’s control over their bodies, thwart women’s reproductive rights, render women vulnerable to reproductive trafficking and exploitation and further subordinate and harm women, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, in our state.”

As Ed Mechmann, a lawyer and the director of public policy for the Archdiocese of New York, notes: “The standard surrogacy contracts impose all sorts of obligations on the ‘carrier,’ and there is a severe penalty if she doesn’t comply – if she violates any provision, she forfeits any payment under the agreement and has to reimburse the ‘parents’ for any of their expenses. This could entail tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and lost income. How is it ‘progressive’ to treat women this way?”

If we really want to be progressive, why don’t we make adoption and foster care priorities? I’d love for a leader in American politics to do that today, how about you? Many an American heart is longing for someone who could bring two sides of a contentious debate together for the common good. Surrogacy is dangerous territory, and there are children out there whose lives would be saved by adoption. Can we talk about this before we plunge deeper into treating life – and women’s wombs – as a commodity?

COPYRIGHT 2019 United Feature Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.