Some conservatives aren’t happy about CNN anchor Anderson Cooper‘s use of a surrogate to become a father, because the child is “deprived” of having both a mother and a father.
In a recent article published in the Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Maria Baer take that argument even further, claiming that surrogacy is a form of oppression.
A couple paid a doctor and an agency to secure the child. The mom’s relationship with the child is governed not by biology, but by contract, one with clauses and exceptions and conditions. A man who made no genetic contribution is being called the child’s other “father,” along with Anderson Cooper, a major media celebrity, which is why this baby’s birth made national headlines.
This story demonstrates that commercial surrogacy, including cases in which the child is intentionally deprived of its mother, is now fully normal.
We’ve repeatedly pointed out the many ethical problems with surrogacy…: it assumes “children” are a right that God never promised; it assumes a Gnostic view of human bodies and relationships; it denies children the opportunity to be raised by their biological mom and a dad; it treats children as products instead of image-bearers; it poses a significant risk for women to be exploited financially.
Since the Christian Post is a “pro-life” publication, I’m surprised to see that the number of children growing up in foster care is not one of their prime arguments against surrogacy. That’s a more logical argument; instead, they run with homophobia and the claim that Cooper “exploited” the biological mother of his child (which, as far as we know, did not happen):
Here, in this story, we have a new chapter of this: Two men who choose a sexual relationship that doesn’t include a uterus still consider themselves entitled to the products of a uterus. And so, they hire a uterus, not really the whole woman. After all, their decision makes the woman a mom, but they don’t want that part of her. They only want the part that will allow them what they want.
Stonestreet and Baer seem unaware, or are just ignoring, the reality that plenty of infertile heterosexual couples use surrogacy, too.
We don’t know anything about the relationship between Cooper and his surrogate. That’s by design, presumably to protect the surrogate, a private citizen, from the scrutiny Cooper knew he would get as a public figure. Whatever their relationship, it was legal and ought to remain between them, not outsiders.
Still, the authors are furious over Cooper’s child.
… if anything is “capitalism run amok,” it’s commercial surrogacy. Is there a more disgusting display of greed than the rich paying the poor for their babies? And, surrogacy exploits the vulnerable. It robs women of their bodily autonomy, especially when contract clauses commit them to reproductive decisions, including abortion. Increasingly, surrogacy is about two wealthy men using a woman for her body, while appropriating a role that only she can fulfill.
Surrogacy only robs women of their autonomy if they’re forced into it. For some women, it’s a way to get out of debt. For others, it’s a way to help someone they know. There’s no evidence Cooper took advantage of his surrogate in any way, but the authors seem convinced that he did, due to the fact that her name wasn’t mentioned in any of the baby announcements. (Again, we don’t know the arrangements, but it’s reasonable to think she wanted her privacy protected.)
Surrogacy is also the final chapter of a culture that prioritizes adult happiness over children’s rights, in this case by offering a service only the very wealthy can afford. Surrogacy denies that children have rights to their mother and father, and that a mother has a right to her own child. Like transgenderism, surrogacy denies biological realities, in this case the miraculous bonds, both physical and emotional, that connects mothers with their children. Surrogacy serves money, and makes winners and losers. The losers are always women and children. The winners are always those with big bank accounts.
They had to slip some transphobia in there, didn’t they…?
There’s certainly an argument to be made that surrogacy opens the door for “designer babies.” In some cases, the practice may indeed exploit women. None of that is relevant in this story with the information that’s available. Surely, with the money he has, Cooper’s son will grow up with everything a child needs to be happy and healthy, and then some.
If there were another segment of culture that should rebuke surrogacy but often doesn’t, even more so in fact, it would be Christians. Some do, but too many don’t, mostly because their worldview analysis stops at what’s normal, rather than what’s right.
Or maybe Christians don’t often rebuke surrogacy because they use it, too.
(Screenshot via YouTube)