Surrogacy: The next frontier for reproductive justice

Photo of baby with big eyes and hands on it's head. Title reads: Surrogacy: The Next Frontier for Reproductive Justice

My newest article is up at RH Reality Check. This time I took on a topic I knew very little about. What I discovered is that surrogacy is extremely complicated–morally, ethically and legally. It’s also not being worked on by very many reproductive justice organizations, and should really get more of our attention. It is the concern of some right-wing conservatives though, and they are having an influence on how surrogacy court cases are playing out.

Surrogacy is a complicated subject, to say the least. It involves many of the issues central to reproductive justice—bodily autonomy, a woman’s right to abortion, definitions of parenthood, and custody of children. It’s also an option increasingly relied upon by gay couples—usually gay men—to create families. It invariably brings up concerns about racial and economic justice when the majority of surrogates are low-income and many are women of color. It’s an issue on which few reproductive rights and justice groups are currently working but one that deserves our close attention.

A recent and closely-watched ruling on surrogacy by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Francis Schultz contributed to the hazy patchwork of court cases and legal precedence that guides how surrogacy is now dealt with in the United States.

The U.S. is one of the few countries worldwide to have neither federal laws nor federal legal precedent restricting surrogacy, making the ease of surrogacy arrangments relatively attractive for couples who can not bear children. But the landscape is mixed. Some states’ laws and legal precedence completely contradict those of other states. What has resulted is an entirely unregulated surrogacy industry, with the majority of activity occurring in the few extremely permissive states.

Go check out the rest here.


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