Right now in the “beautiful” city of New York City there’s a couple—the man is probably a Vice President on Wall Street and the woman, a fancy plastic surgeon, the botox type—rich with all its trimmings and who don’t just want a baby, but feel entitled to become parents. Another couple lives in “Bill’s racy” Washington, making over seven figures a year from lobbying or from jewelry sales, who dines at Shaw Bijou (newly opened by the famous Kwame Onwuachi) for one thousand dollars for two plates of the tasting menu, and who having achieved everything on their radar don’t just want a baby, but feel entitled to become parents.
Why? They love the society that respects them for having babies, but they detest the society that expects them to have the babies themselves and to nurse the babies by themselves. The cutaway to this picture is the “biological terrorism” they transport elsewhere: that is, the image of “other” women having babies in the backwater of some “third world” country that has been beaten down by the force of a nuclear threat to submit to the power of the digital dollar freely printed in New York City.
The bodies of destitute women in India, Cambodia, China and many parts of Africa now, are treated like colonies in much the same way that former colonial powers exploited the natural resources of nations they lured into submission.
It is also impossible not to hearken back to the violent history that birthed this terrorism in order to gain a fuller understanding of the genesis of this appetite. The history of child rearing during American slavery goes like this: the Caucasian wives of slave masters—repulsed by the idea of losing their “seductive” high-standing breasts to breastfeeding their own children—by the force of the whip and the gun engaged the services of a poor, destitute and powerless African slave woman.
Connecting that notorious history to the capitalism of today, it is easy to see from where the mentality for furthering a baby-producing plantation has emerged. As a result, an IVF/surrogacy industry has developed where the embryos of the rich and famous in New York City are seeded into the wombs of desperate, poor women for very little money—barely enough to buy a year’s worth of provisions—as the brokers of such transactions get rich.
It is terrorism. A terrorism of the human body. A terrorism of the woman’s body. A terrorism of desperate women, their children, their families and their nations. The gestational surrogates—the dehumanizing capitalist’s resource that is the birth mother—are almost always maltreated and subjected to unnecessary Caesarian sections with little pain management. Some of these poor women are housed away from their husbands, from their families, in prison-like dorms, sometimes forced to abort, and even occasionally losing their lives in childbirth.
And even if these women manage against the odds to have the child, some suffer the terrible emotional stress after having a baby with whom they emotionally bonded during gestation, taken away by force. Worse, for the newborn, sometimes the biological seeding parents reject the child if it does not succumb to keeping up with the Kardashians. Or the newborn is ripped off the 24-carat-gold-plated toilet of the million dollar apartment, at which its seeders enjoy their three hundred thousand dollar wine bottles of Domaine de La Romanée-Conti and the plethora of liberal Ipad-Mini-4 books they have accumulated electronically, and thrown out as a “deplorable.”
With such riches, amassed from a distance, comes the ease of exploitation of other women from afar. Babies become pets and their real mothers become brooders. Babies become dogs—a terrier, a hound, a cocker spaniel, a malamute, an eskimo—to be conceived from out of sight, littered out of mind, collected, paid for and brought home as decoration. If the decoration doesn’t fit in, it is sent packing.
One baby-seeking seeder said, “I will do anything to have a baby.” Who wouldn’t? There are people who don’t, that too must be respected. Whatever the case, for those who want babies, one might empathize with a woman with fertility problems but not with one who feels her vagina all too-valuable for a baby to pop through, or one who feels her abdomen too sacred to be bled open in a Caesarean section. More, one who feels her breasts all too ordained by Yaweh as to be milked like a cow.
Like American slave owners who forced African women against their will to survive by nursing and breastfeeding the babies of their slave mistresses—the future slave masters of their own African children—seeders criticize those who rise against their plantation, their commercial surrogacy farms, as if God has entitled them to farm, and farm, at any cost. They are staunch in their beliefs and utterly demanding in what they want. Seeders’ very “needy” suffering becomes the justification for the exploitation of others!
India was the epicenter of this exploitative industry in human body functions until it was recently banned by its authorities. Cambodia, too, is outlawing commercial surrogacy. And so should Ghana, and for that matter all African nations before it is too late. Currently, with the exception of South Africa, commercial surrogacy is virtually unregulated in Africa. None of our governments are moving to supervise or police it in any meaningful way.
Commercial surrogacy—especially between parties of wholly unequal bargaining positions such as between a Domaine de La Romanée-Conti sipping couple in London and a cassava farming woman in Ejisu—should be considered “biological terrorism” and treated accordingly by the law.