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Laura Purdy Essay

1690 words - 7 pages

A surrogate is a woman who gestates a fetus for others, often times it is for another couple or a mother. She carries the pregnancy and let them adopt the baby legally after it is born. Surrogate arrangements are generally complex: it takes different arrangements and contacts in order to start the surrogacy. Some women are getting paid to fulfill the job of being a surrogate mother, ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 (p. 398), while others do not expect any kind of payment. Some states had outlawed surrogacy, for they believe that it is illegal to involve the buying and selling of children (baby-selling) for it is a “blatant affront to human dignity” (p. 400). Defenders of surrogacy deny this ...view middle of the document...

Surrogate services are advertised, surrogates are recruited and operating agencies make large profits out of it. Feminists then argue that surrogate is wrong because “it betray women’s’ and societies’ basic interest” (p.456). The first way in which a surrogate mother may interpret her relationship with the fetus is that she is pregnant with someone else’s child. To Purdy, the appropriate moral framework to think about this case is the consequentialist approach. This approach requires mothers to consider whether the practice either leads to good or bad consequences. If a surrogate mother does believe that she is pregnant with someone else’s child, then this would likely have a different effect on the outcome. Thus, a “practice which is moral in a feminist society may well be immoral in a sexist one” (p.455). Purdy claims that although there are others who do not favor surrogacy, some people do favor it. She notes that (1) surrogate creates happiness, (2) the transferring burden and risk of one individual too another may be liberating at some cases and (3) “surrogate mothering” is a significant source of happiness among single women, even to gay couples as well (p.455). Some women love being pregnant, while others do not. There are also other women who cannot conceive a child even if she and her husband tried for years. Often times, pregnancy may be a burden or will cause risks to women. Therefore, surrogacy reduces these risks and burden to those mothers. Not only the mother who will benefit out of it, but also the child. Purdy notes that high risk pregnancies create risks of prematurity, which result to conceiving handicap children. To prevent this genetic disease is by avoiding pregnancy from the mother carriers.
As mentioned earlier, despite its advantages, feminists continue to argue that the practice is necessarily wrong for the society and women’s interest. Purdy describes three acts of surrogate as mentioned before: transferring burden and risk, separating sex and reproduction, and separating reproduction and child-bearing.
First, Purdy asks the question whether it is wrong to transfer of burden from one woman to another, if pregnancy can threaten their lives. It would be paternalistic if others forbid women to take the risks. Purdy argues that transferring burden or risks is the central issue in surrogacy. However, she claims that in our daily lives, we frequently transfer our burdens to other people- we do so by “getting our hair done, getting our clothes dry clean, and getting our house clean” are examples of the process of transferring our burden to another, especially if other people risk their lives in heavy machinery, wasting their time, and being exposed to chemicals just to fulfill our daily duties and increase our happiness (p.456). Furthermore, Purdy continues to argue that it is not even accurate whether the shift of pregnancy burden and risks does transfer to another woman. The act itself causes happiness to those mothers...

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