Reconceiving Surrogacy: Toward a Reproductive Justice Account of Indian Surrogacy
Article first published online: 9 FEB 2011
© by Hypatia, Inc.
Special Issue: 2nd FEAST Special Issue
Volume 26, Issue 4, pages 715–741, Fall 2011
How to Cite
BAILEY, A. (2011), Reconceiving Surrogacy: Toward a Reproductive Justice Account of Indian Surrogacy. Hypatia, 26: 715–741. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01168.x
- Issue published online: 20 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 9 FEB 2011
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 (for example, liberal feminist political values) to Indian surrogacy work raises the specter of discursive colonialism; with it, worries arise 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; with it, concerns arise about under-theorizing the structural harms and injustices shaping surrogacy 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.