Pope Frances Says Ban Surrogacy. I Say Stop the $$.

Pope Frances Says Ban Surrogacy. I Say Stop the $$. February 28, 2024

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“I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” he said. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.” Pope Francis

Last January, Pope Francis labeled surrogate pregnancy “deplorable” and called for a worldwide ban on the practice. He called it the “commercialization” of pregnancy.

When I was in office, I authored a bill making it illegal for doctors to advertise to college girls, offering them money to allow doctors to “harvest” the eggs in their ovaries and then sell those eggs for use in various technologies. 

I had gone through infertility treatment myself years before this, and I knew very well that “harvesting” eggs would put these young girls through a long series of injections with high-powered hormones, exposing them to all the things that these hormones can do to them, including raising their chances of ovarian cancer in the future. The hormones hyper the ovaries unnaturally and cause them to swell painfully. 

Men, including male legislators, don’t care over much if something hurts women in a way that it doesn’t hurt men. Describe the pain of a heart attack to them, and they understand. But describe the pain of swollen ovaries and they draw a blank, file it way as a “woman thing” and don’t care much. However, if I ask them to think of shots that would cause their testicles to swell painfully, then to submit to having needles repeatedly jabbed into their testicles to withdraw sperm, they kinda get it. 

When I was going through infertility treatment, a woman who was a patient of another one of the doctors in the clinic lost her ovary because it became so heavy and swollen from the hormones that it “turned” and cut itself off from its blood supply. For those of you who can’t imagine what that was like, think agonizing pain, life-threatening injury, emergency surgery and permanent damage to fertility. For guys, imagine that happening to one of your testicles.

These ads lied about the dangers, the pain and the long-term consequences to these young women from selling their eggs, claiming the procedure was “safe” and “harmless.” The ads promised what would be a lot of money to a college student who was working as a waitress to pay tuition, and keep an old clunker car running while going to class and studying. As one of the doctors who ran the ads told a reporter, “Of course we pay them a lot of money. Who would do this if they weren’t paid a lot of money?”

I was told later that the ads targeted college students because they wanted the eggs of intelligent young women, and college students were short of money and easy prey. 

I authored a bill making it illegal to run these ads in college newspapers or to offer young women money for their eggs. I didn’t try to stop women from donating their eggs freely, if they wanted to. I just tried to stop the doctors from targeting young college women and I tried to take the money out of the equation. 

I was attacked with a lot of lies and hysteria from the doctors who were running this wholesale egg harvesting enterprise. Ironically, one of these doctors was the same man whose patient lost her ovary back when I was going through infertility treatment. He spoke against the bill and lied straight out and said he’d never had a complication. 

I got the bill through the House, but the Senate killed it. 

That left Oklahoma’s young women wide open to what I knew was a dangerous and immoral practice of buying and selling their body parts at great risk to them, their lives, and their future health. I thought then, and I think now that the laws against buying and selling body parts are excellent laws.

If you want to donate a kidney to someone who needs it, that’s your choice. But we should not allow the buying and selling of kidneys and other human body parts as a commercial enterprise.

I think the reason we have those laws is that men can donate the organs that are covered by them. For instance, men can donate kidneys. So we have laws against buying and selling kidneys, even though there are people who are desperate for a kidney. I’m sure we could do lots of promotional propaganda about how “happy” kidney recipients would be to participate in an international organ harvesting business.

But men can donate kidneys, so we have laws protecting kidney donors and requiring that the donations be voluntary, unpaid, and noncommercial.

But only women can have babies, so harvesting women’s bodies and buying and selling babies has become a vast commercial enterprise with women and babies as the “product” that is for sale.

I thought then and I think now that the reason we allow women’s bodies to be harvested commercially and rented for money is that misogyny so permeates our society that we take it for granted that women and girls are second rate human beings who do not deserve equal protection under the law.

One of the doctors who supported the bill I tried to pass sent me a copy of ads that were running offering people the opportunity to “choose” the girl whose eggs they would buy and the girl or woman whose bodies they would rent to produce babies for them. The ads had photos and descriptions of the girls, where they went to school, their grade point averages, etc. 

This was a massive commercial enterprise, buying and selling women’s body parts and renting their bodies. I learned there were surrogacy farms in third world countries where women were essentially kept like breeding cattle to produce babies.

It was crass and degrading to the women. It ignored any harm they might suffer. It was a clear violation of women’s human rights.

Since then, “surrogacy” has become quite open and accepted by most people. It is a massive $1.5 billion dollar international industry. As bad as the egg donor/surrogacy exploitation of poor women is in this country, it is much worse in third world countries where women are kept in breeder farms and used to produce babies to sell.

Nobody in this industry talks about the degradation and damage this does to women. Nobody talks about the fact that this not only reduces the “surrogate” or the “donor” to the level of an object that you buy like a thing, but that it reduces all women to less than fully human. Nobody talks about the dangers and suffering entailed with pregnancy, the dangers and suffering involved in “egg donation.” Nobody talks about buying babies like buying a new car. Nobody — and I mean nobody — talks about the dangers of taking massive doses of hormones to future health. 

Pope Francis was right, but he didn’t talk about the deeply misogynistic horror show that is our society. He didn’t say that we live in a society which views women as lesser humans that you can do anything to that you want. 

The pope wants to make surrogacy illegal. I don’t. I’ve made a lot of laws, and I think there are areas where the law needs to stay out of it. I think that if people consent to do this of their own free will after they have been informed fully of all the risks, including the long-term emotional risks, then ok. The law should allow them to do it.

But the law should allow it only if the egg donor and/or surrogate are adults who make an informed choice of their own free will and are not paid, lied to or coerced in any way. Even then, I think they should have a clear cause of action if their health and safety is not the foremost consideration every step of the way and that they should always have full access to all the of the records involving their donation/surrogacy.

But under no circumstances should money change hands, and no woman should be kept in a breeder farm to produce babies for sale. No baby or any human being should ever be bought or sold. 

Any doctor who offers money or is a party to the offering of money to a woman or girl to allow her body to be harvested for a commercial enterprise should lose his or her license and go to prison. He or she is clearly and obviously not acting in the best interest of his or her patient.

These large women-selling enterprises with their photos of young girls and women for buyers to chose, should be shut down and the people who own them should also go to prison. There is no excuse for what they are doing. 

You don’t buy and sell people. And women and girls are people. 

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