The infertility and surrogacy multi-billion-dollar industries, those who benefit from it, and others, too often attempt to out-shout any criticism of surrogacy by conflating surrogacy with LGBTQ+ rights and labeling all opposition to surrogacy as homophobic.
Defenders of surrogacy see it as a reproductive choice from a vast array of menu items ranging from IVF to adoption. However, these options are not available equally to all, but only to those who can afford them.
Anna Kerr, founder and Principal Solicitor of Feminist Legal Clinic Inc., Sydney, AU addresses the heart of the issue in regard to how much a of choice surrogacy is for the surrogates:
… how often are these ‘choices’ being made under financial duress or in a context of social coercion? … Can we assume that women are truly acting of their own volition when in many cases their lives are so susceptible to the control of others? Or should we be skeptical of claims of ‘free choice’ and ‘consent’ in contexts that so clearly … smack of abuse and shameless exploitation?
Kerr very accurately foresees surrogacy and other reproductive technologies creating “an Atwoodian dystopia that should provide the basis for litigation well into the future. … international human rights provisions, do not adequately recognise and protect the natural and fundamental bond between a mother and the child she carries and must urgently be strengthened to prevent further development of a culture in which women’s reproductive capacities are commandeered and their offspring traded as mere commodities by wealthy men
In health news, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $2.1 billion to a group of women who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum products contaminated with asbestos. In its ruling, the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals said Johnson & Johnson had “engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference.” But the appeals court did reduce the verdict amount, which had been $4.7 billion. Johnson & Johnson recently stopped selling its brand of talcum powder in the United States and Canada, but it is continuing to sell the products overseas.
Lockdown exposed the scale of the commercial baby business in Ukraine, and now women hired for their wombs are speaking out.
The babies’ plight made headlines around the world, but a month on, some 50 babies remain in the hotel and the saga is casting a harsh spotlight on the ethics and scale of the booming commercial child-bearing industry in Ukraine.
Mykola Kuleba, Ukraine’s ombudsman for children, has now said reforming a system he described as a violation of children’s rights was not enough and that surrogacy services for foreign couples in Ukraine should be banned.
In a cash-strapped economy however, where the average wage is £300 a month and the war with Russia and its proxies continues, many impoverished women, especially in small towns and rural areas, are still lining up to carry babies for money, even if they are paying a heavy health and psychological price, as campaigners believe.
On Wednesday, Alicia Payne, member for Canberra, addressed a question to the Prime Minister.
“Women from the Yass Valley are currently forced to travel an hour to Canberra or Goulbourn to give birth. As a result, a number of women have been forced to give birth on the side of the Barton Highway. Does the Prime Minister agree that this is unacceptable?” she asked.
The Prime Minister shuffled his notes, and rose in reply, a satisfied smile on his face. Was he going to announce a new maternity service? A plan?
“Well, I’m pleased to let the member know that that’s why we’ve committed $150 million to upgrade the Barton Highway…” he started with a sly smile, to chortles from the right.
Yes. That’s correct. Apparently, giving birth by the side of a highway is a joke to our Prime Minister and his buddies.
With the tunnel-vision and moral selfishness so characteristic of their movement, they are happy to support and sustain the most extreme form of discrimination against girls—with extreme lifelong physical and mental health consequences–in order to retain plastic surgeons’ entitlement to profit from removing children’s healthy reproductive organs, and homophobic parents’ option to have a potentially lesbian girl’s body altered to make her look more like a straight boy.
It’s an interesting idea, but we don’t think polyandry would necessarily be great for women. More husbands could mean more work – especially since globally, women do two-and-a-half times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men.
China’s gender imbalance is a serious problem. The country has 30 to 40 million “missing women,” a situation caused by gender inequality and a preference for boys and exacerbated by the “one-child policy” in place from 1979 to 2015 and ongoing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. This gender gap has made it difficult for many Chinese men to find wives.
It has also fueled a demand for trafficked women from abroad. Human Rights Watch documented bride trafficking in Myanmar, where each year hundreds of women and girls are deceived through false promises of employment into traveling to China, only to be sold to Chinese families as brides for about US$3,000 to $13,000 and held in sexual slavery, often for years.
Australian parents pay almost four times as much as their international counterparts for child care, forcing parents out of the workforce and leaving children without a head start in learning.
By international standards, Australia has one of the highest out-of-pocket child care costs in the world, behind the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
“The effects of treatment with GnRH analogues are considered to be fully reversible”
“. . .Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. . . .
Although the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be.
It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones.”
Given that the NHS now says that hormone therapy for gender-variant children has unknown long-term effects on the physical and mental health of those children, why is the NHS still using such treatments on children?
As the cofounder and Director for the Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine (SGEM) at the Brown University Emergency Medicine Department and the cofounder for the national organisation Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative, I study sex differences in medicine — particularly in emergency medicine.
My concerns around Covid-19 are numerous, but among them is our lack of understanding about how the virus may affect women and men differently, and how this lack may prevent us from delivering the most appropriate and personalized care for all patients with Covid-19.
Women are biologically different than men from the level of our DNA on up. We are not simply men with breasts and ovaries; we are unique in every cell of our bodies. But because our modern medical system is male-centric — meaning, it is foundationally based on knowledge of, research on, and observation of male bodies and male patterns of illness — women often don’t fit the textbook models by which we as physicians learn to diagnose and treat our patients.