by Chris Bodenner
Thomas Frank, lone liberal of the WSJ op-ed page, writes:
[Surrogate motherhood for pay] is a class-and-gender minefield. ... It threatens to commodify not only babies, but women as well, putting their biological functions up for sale like so many Jimmy Choos. If surrogacy ever becomes a widely practiced market transaction, it will probably make pregnancy into just another dirty task for the working class, with wages driven down and wealthy couples hiring the work out because it's such a hassle to be pregnant.
He then proceeds to pummel Alex Kuczynski, the NYT writer/billionaire socialite who featured herself in the controversial cover story about her paid surrogacy. Frank's cynicism toward her and a future she represents (an economy of careerists and breeders) is cutting and entertaining.
But his above paragraph intrigued me more because it brought into focus an interesting irony regarding liberals and women's choice. According to pro-life conservatives, women should not have control over their bodies once pregnancy begins. For pro-choice liberals, they should. But for liberals such as Frank, women shouldn't have full control over their bodies when it comes to surrogacy. Even if two grown women agree, under no coercion, to enter into a surrogate contract, many pro-choicers would seek to restrict that choice.
Though I tend to favor freedom on both fronts, abortion and surrogacy, I'm sure there must be some limits on pay-for-pregnancy. But as technological advances reach new heights (like breeding humans out-utero, Matrix-style), those limits will only get more contentious. (Or perhaps offer a win-win: What if pro-life women became surrogates for pro-choicers with unwanted pregnancies?)