Counting Our Blessings

by The Center for Bioethics and Culture on November 19, 2019

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Dear friends,

Every autumn as the holidays start to approach, I become acutely aware of all of the wonderful people in my life. Gratitude seems to permeate throughout the air at this time of year, and I want you to know just how incredibly grateful the CBC is for you and your support. I hope that you are able to take some time as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach to realize the blessings and joys in your own life.

As an educational organization heavily invested in the ethics of assisted reproductive technology, we are always working to find ways to creatively challenge people’s assumptions around baby-making in the lab. To that end, in October I traveled with a professional photographer to capture photos of women who have been harmed by selling their eggs or renting their wombs for surrogacy. The goal of this intimate project is to create a book and a website that will tell their stories. Their voices are especially important as we rally and fight to oppose the commercial surrogacy bill in New York State. We had a brief victory last year in stopping this piece of legislation, but we know our opponents will be re-introducing the bill in the New Year. I cannot wait to show you the finished product when we roll out the book and the website!

I traveled again to speak at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. It is important to raise our voices in this forum as the Heritage Foundation has a large bandwidth of followers. Already through YouTube, the two talks I gave have reached well over 11,000 people! This past talk, I focused more on scientific research around stem cells, human cloning, gene-editing/CRISPR technology and the dependence on women for eggs to make embryos. Sadly, my state, California, recently passed a law that will allow women to be paid to sell their eggs for scientific research. It’s important that science progresses ethically and not in a way that harms some for the good of others. 

Finally, I went across the pond to London and joined my colleagues Julie Bindel, Dr. Renate Klein, and Dr. Sheela Saravanan on a panel to discuss surrogacy. Julie spoke directly on the exploitation of women for their wombs, especially as more and more gay men turn to surrogacy to have a baby. Renate debunked the myth of altruistic surrogacy, and Sheela presented her research on surrogacy in India. I gave the snapshot of surrogacy in the U.S. focusing heavily on the language in surrogacy contracts, showing how much surrogacy is akin to slavery in the way women are controlled.

As we turn to the New Year, we have many exciting things coming! We’ve made the selection for the 2020 recipient of the Paul Ramsey Award (No, I am not revealing who it is. I’ll make you sit on pins and needles!), and we have some fun things to roll out as CBC turns 20 in 2020! Of course, none of our exciting plans would be possible without your support! As you enter this season of giving, would you please consider the CBC?


Jennifer

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