The only consistent conclusion is that such activists view the wants of surrogate parents as more compelling than a child’s life.
The delusional leftists arguing that adoption is more “traumatic” than abortion aren’t making a convincing argument for their brutal baby death cult, but they are making a great point against the rise of surrogacy as a means for clients such as gay and “transgender” males to achieve their personal parenting fantasies.
Just look at some of the arguments that Elizabeth Spiers, who was adopted as an infant, advanced in a 2021 New York Times essay about “the trauma [adoption] can inflict” and why abortion is a better solution all around. (She’s not the only one pushing the talking point, either.)
“While pregnant, [mothers] will undergo the bonding with a child that happens by biological design as an embryo develops into a living, breathing, conscious human,” Spiers wrote. “And then that child will be taken away.”
In an abortion, the child — who is a living human from the beginning of pregnancy, and is taking practice breaths by 10 weeks and developing “brain connections that stimulate memory, decision-making, [and] emotions” by 15 weeks — is also “taken away” from his mother. It’s just that, instead of having the chance to grow up in a loving family, the child’s lifeless body is discarded into a bucket of medical waste.
Mothers experience natural physical and emotional bonding with their unborn children, and abortion doesn’t erase that. It’s one of the reasons many women experience abortion regret.
Spiers continues: “Adoption is often just as traumatic as the right thinks abortion is, if not more so, as a woman has to relinquish not a lump of cells but a fully formed baby she has lived with for nine months.”
Setting aside the ignorant, medically disproven assumption that an unborn child is just a “lump of cells,” and the reality-challenged claim that killing her child should be less traumatic for a mother than putting him up for adoption, Spiers makes an accurate observation that handing your newborn baby over to a stranger is no light thing. As much as our society tries, we cannot cleanly separate the physical from the metaphysical during reproduction. Just as the sacred act of sex can never be perfectly divorced from its consequences, a pregnant mother’s relationship with her child is not easily reduced to womb rental.
While it’s an easy rebuttal to point out that the real challenges of separating a child from her mother in the adoption process are preferable to taking the child’s life, those challenges do present compelling problems with the growing practice of elective surrogacy, which is often touted as a means for men who are not married to women to obtain babies. (Some women also seek surrogates as a solution to infertility or to avoid the physical inconvenience of pregnancy, but its ascent as a cause célèbre for the LGBT lobby solidified its place as a pet issue on the left.)
Several congressional Democrats have introduced bills legitimizing the idea of a universal “right” to reproductive technologies including surrogacy, including for men who present themselves as women or gay men, who cannot reproduce without a woman. The Guardian ran a sympathetic feature in October on two men who “have become figureheads in the battle for fertility rights for all gay men” and the “battleground” of “gay parenthood through surrogacy.” Thanks in part to the rise of surrogacy, “Queer couples are now able to pursue their dreams of starting a family,” Insider rejoiced.
The New York Times didn’t bother to veil its endorsement in a piece titled “The Fight for Fertility Equality” in 2020. “Fertility equality activists are asking, at a minimum, for insurance companies to cover reproductive procedures like sperm retrieval, egg donation and embryo creation for all prospective parents, including gay couples who use surrogates,” the Times said. “Surrogacy has … created an avenue to biological parenthood for thousands … who can’t conceive or carry children on their own, such as same-sex couples and single men,” the paper cheered in another article.
So-called “reproductive justice” advocates demand that insurance companies pay surrogacy fees for men. Media celebrate gay men like Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper “having” babies via surrogate as totally normal.
But every point that Spiers made about separating a child from his mother applies to surrogacy too; except in this case, instead of being a preferable alternative to the child’s death, would-be parents choose to sponsor a pregnancy with the end goal of ripping the baby from his mother, all so they can exercise their personal “right” to raise a child. There’s a huge difference between giving a child a new family because he needs it, and deliberately creating a motherless child to meet your own wants.
The mother is hardly the only participant whom surrogacy punishes, of course. Spiers continues: “Researchers have a term for what children who are adopted, even as infants, may suffer from later in life: relinquishment trauma. The premise is that babies bond with their mothers in utero and become familiar with their behaviors. When their first caretaker is not the biological mother, they register the difference and the stress of it has lasting effects.”
Again, while the challenges of adoption for children are real, those imperfections don’t justify the alternative of killing them. Meanwhile, that trauma is just as present for babies who are conceived for the express purpose of being taken from their mothers and handed to strangers.
If leftists really thought adoption was so traumatic for children that its imperfections justified killing them in utero instead, they wouldn’t be so giddy at the idea of surrogacy. The only logically consistent conclusion is that these activists view the self-serving wants of surrogate parents as a more compelling interest than a child’s very life.
Elle Purnell is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. Follow her work on Twitter @_etreynolds.