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Why Surrogacy Is a Social Justice Issue
In a tragic turn of events, the state of New York has recently legalized commercial surrogacy. While its citizens find themselves preoccupied with a state-wide shutdown, shouldering the lion’s share of the U.S. coronavirus burden, New York’s legislators have taken it upon themselves to pass the widely-battled legislation that feminists argue is harmful to women, children, and families.
Catholics, especially those who have struggled with infertility, might have some familiarity with the Church’s teachings on artificial reproduction. The Church’s official teaching on this subject is largely contained in Donum Vitae, the 1987 document meant to instruct the faithful on contemporary bioethical issues. The text explains the inherent moral problems of alternate methods of conception like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as the moral shortcomings of practices like embryonic research and gestational surrogacy.
While the cautions from the Church are certainly valid, another compelling argument against these practices is the direct harm they pose for women and children. In the past few decades, more practical problems with surrogacy have begun to surface, including horror stories of implantation errors, custody battles, and disputes over who has the right to terminate the pregnancy. The practice of commercial surrogacy is legal (or at least, not explicitly prohibited) in every state except for Louisiana and Michigan, despite its concrete risks, harmful effects, and affront to human dignity….