NOTE: On February 2, 2016, several of the original signers of the StopSurrogacyNow petition gathered in Paris, France, with hundreds of others to speak at and attend a conference entitled Vers l’abolition de la GPA (toward the abolition of all surrogacy). You can read the conference charter in English or French, and sign onto it at the conference website.
StopSurrogacyNow signers who spoke at the conference included:
Sylviane Agacinski from France
Kajsa Ekis Ekman from Sweden
Julie Bindel from the United Kingdom
Below, with permission to reprint, are remarks Dr. Regula Stämpfli presented at the conference.
Why Surrogacy Should Scare You
Dr. Regula Staempfli, author, political scientist, philosopher
Abstract: The core question in surrogacy is: Is it a technical critique or a political one? Should surrogacy be forbidden because so many women and children are exploited etc., or because it is a political question of using other people’s organs and lives for money? Surrogacy is all about selling and buying human flesh. Surrogacy is one part of the process that humans have become capital rather than owning capital.
Surrogacy is not a technical but a political question
When talking about surrogacy we talk about politics, policies, and human rights, not technicalities, data, and industrial processes. Surrogacy is not just a question of risks and management but a question of what humans are and how they should be treated. Media and Scientists are used to treating everything as a thing, an object, that can be explored, measured, changed, exploited.
Surrogacy is not a question of whether it is good or bad, whether it should be done or not; surrogacy is a political question that should be decided politically and not privately by parents, doctors, agencies, markets, money, technical possibilities etc.
Surrogacy should be decided by the rules that exist in democracies that orient themselves on: by the people, for the people, through the people.
Marketing Humans – Human Market
The surrogacy project is a series of trade and international legal settings between the First World and the poorest regions of the world. The trade negotiations on humans are being carried out mostly in secret between the private investors in surrogacy. As the international agreements under private international law are carried out, the surrogacy project reduces all barriers on the safety of women, children, and future human beings. The surrogacy project undermines all sovereign powers of democracies and of basic human rights. The surrogacy project renders not only the dignity of existing and future humans to the power of money, but destroys all equal human rights that have been fought for and won over the past centuries.
Embryo2go: Humans have no money, they are the money
To treat surrogacy as a technical question is an assault on humanity worldwide. Surrogacy is a project by Markets and Doctors within a general project of turning all human beings into real flesh capital (or Data capital).
Humans do no longer own capital but they become capital itself: in reality through Organ transfer and surrogacy, in virtual reality through Data transfer.
For many years now the surrogacy project has been international, but very secretive, undemocratic and dominated by scientists, technicians, wealthy “patients,” sperm-banks, egg-banks, etc. This secrecy is on-going, with nearly all information and news articles being published by the traders in human flesh, i.e., the surrogacy defenders such as wealthy parents, industries, industry doctors, financial interests, pharmaceutical industries. All information on the surrogacy project is provided by either very conservative sects that make that position non-negotiable or so called “rational” pro-surrogacy lobbyists, among them very prominent and payed for scientists and professors of ethics and private law companies.
The international surrogacy project has so far managed to supply all media only with favorable reports, statistics, and investment strategies concerning the buying and selling of humans. Progressive groups (such as the anti-defamation league and feminists) have joined the forces of the international surrogacy project, claiming that the ordering, buying, and selling of babies is a fundamental right of freedom. Never has the international surrogacy project called for a consideration of the freedom of the human being that is being ordered, fabricated, and sold.
Worryingly, the covert nature of “surrogacy,” even in its terms, is that the trade of human flesh, the trade of babies, is never called as such. Humans in the surrogacy project are only the buyers and their network of power.
Media & Wombs 4rent
Buying and selling wombs – without considering the women who carry them – have become fashionable in media and science. The moral issues behind it are: Because people who have been discriminated so long over the centuries (Homosexuals, Women) by heterosexual white supremacy, it is now only about time the discriminated groups can have the same rights as the former exploiters and colonists. It is never being discussed that victims have no right to victimize others. Being a victim of whatever nature does not dismantle all universal standards of human rights and equality.
Food, environmental and psychological safety for mothers and children
The international surrogacy project wants to bring the sale of humans on a global scale. The appalling social standards in the US are forced globally. Surrogate mothers are kept in slave contracts that determine all intimate details when it comes to food, environment, and psychology. Surrogate mothers can – by a legal contract – be forbidden to travel, to drink alcohol, to have sex, etc. Very much like prostitutes they sell their bodies – but unlike prostitutes they don’t have a schedule, but 9 months in a row. All normal international labor standards are forbidden when it comes to “surrogate mothers.” In Europe, surrogacy is restricted and has to follow legal procedures. The international surrogacy project wants to ban all these restrictions.
“Commercial surrogacy lies at the intersection of patriarchy, medical power, and market, where the child becomes a simple ‘product’ of the arrangement and the woman’s body as a ‘resource’” (p. 80 in Rainhorn/Boudamoussi).
Banking regulations on sperms and eggs and wombs: Privatization project
Already now the NHS in various countries finance artificial insemination, surrogate “parenthood,” sperm banks, and egg banks. This means that the public will pay for private interests of the lobbyists, the companies, the ethics professors in the surrogacy project. The surrogacy projects lets public play for private interests. The argument for legality is: Without paying for it, surrogacy will become unsafe, unclean, and frequent, and it will create a black market for eggs, sperm, wombs, and mothers. This argument is like saying: You have been burgled. In order not to get yourself killed, you need to invite the burglar to your safe, hand him over all your earnings, basically everything you have.
It is the burglary that is wrong, not the burgled.
The international surrogacy project will undermine any existing standards of women’s rights. The international surrogacy project will promote, will finance charities, will dominate the media discourse along the lines of freedom for women and choice where it takes away any dignity, freedom, choice of other women who haven’t got the money to be free.
The international surrogacy project will undermine any opportunity to provide an international, global, and equal opportunities labor market. It will reinforce the trade on humans and human flesh without any protection whatsoever. The international surrogacy project will force people into selling their bodies rather than providing jobs. The international surrogacy project denies the dignity of all human beings independently of their access to capital. The practice of the already existing plethora of agencies and clinics document the trend that humans shall, in the future, not be able to own capital but become capital itself.
Privatization of State Law
There has been a recent surge in reported case law relating to surrogacy across many countries. Surrogacy is mostly treated as disputes between the private parties in the arrangement of trading human flesh. Through privatization, slavery is being reinstalled . . . without the media, the politicians, or the doctors realizing it (or realizing it but wanting to make profit at the same time . . .).
Philosophy & Ethics
Surrogacy is, when analyzed properly, an opportunist, cynical, post-democratic ethics project that aims at totalitarian commodification of every living aspect in the world.
The best overview on the practice of “surrogacy” is provided by the EU on a study over 378 pages: “A comparative study on the regime of surrogacy in EU Member States 2013“
Abstract: This study provides a preliminary overview of the wide range of policy concerns relating to surrogacy as a practice at national, European, and global level. It undertakes an extensive examination of national legal approaches to surrogacy. It also analyses existing European Union law and the law of the European Convention of Human Rights to determine what obligations and possibilities surround national and transnational surrogacy. The study concludes that it is impossible to indicate a particular legal trend across the EU, however all Member States appear to agree on the need for a child to have clearly defined legal parents and civil status. (Article PDF).
The best global and recent studies are to be found in the excellent encyclopedia: New Cannibal Markets: Globalization and Commodification of the Human Body, Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2015 by Jean-Daniel Rainhorn & Samira El Boudamoussi (ED.)
Dr. Staempfli’s TEDx Talk on commodification: