Reconceiving Surrogacy: Toward a Reproductive Justice Account of Surrogacy Work in India
RECONCEIVING SURROGACY: TOWARD A REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE ACCOUNT OF INDIAN SURROGACY, Hypatia. Special FEAST Issue, Diane T. Meyers, ed., Vol. 26, No. 4, Fall 2011
30 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2009 Last revised: 27 Jul 2011
Date Written: November 30, 2009
My project here is to argue for situating moral judgments about Indian surrogacy in the context of Reproductive Justice. I begin by crafting the best picture of Indian surrogacy available to me while marking some worries I have about discursive colonialism and epistemic honesty. Western feminists’ responses to contract pregnancy fall loosely into two interrelated moments: Post-Baby M discussions that focus on the morality of surrogacy work in Western contexts, and feminist biomedical ethnographies that focus on the lived dimensions of reproductive technologies and how they are embodied and negotiated in specific cultural contexts. Both approaches have their shortcomings. Uncritically extending Western moral frameworks (e.g. liberal feminist political values) to Indian surrogacy work raises the specter of discursive colonialism; and with it, worries about how Western normative traditions can distort, erase, or misread non-Western subjects lived experiences. Feminist biomedical ethnographic approaches correct this, but raise the specter of a weak moral absenteeism; and with it, concerns about under theorizing the structural harms and injustices shaping surrogate worker’s lives. I suggest that we might reduce these shortcomings by framing normative and ethnographic engagement with global surrogacy as questions of reproductive justice.
Keywords: Indian Surrogacy, Reproductive Tourism, Reproductive Justice, Feminist Bioethics
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