Surrogacy, Labor and the Abolition of the Family
Join Sophie Lewis and Moira Weigel for a wide-ranging conversation on the oppressive nature of the nuclear family, the contradictions of commercial surrogacy, and what to learn from the struggle for sex worker rights when fighting for the rights of all pregnant people, paid or unpaid.
About Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family by Sophie Lewis:
The surrogacy industry is worth an estimated 1 billion dollars a year, and many of its surrogates work in terrible conditions, while many gestate babies for no pay at all. Should it be illegal to pay someone to gestate a baby for you? Full Surrogacy Now brings a fresh and unique perspective to the debate. Rather than making surrogacy illegal or allowing it to continue as is, Sophie Lewis argues we should be looking to radically transform it. Surrogates should be put front and center, and their rights to the babies they gestate should be expanded to acknowledge that they are more than mere vessels. In doing so we can break down our assumptions that children necessarily belong to those whose genetics they share.
This might sound like a radical proposal but expanding our idea of who children belong to would be a good thing. Taking collective responsibility for children, rather than only caring for the ones we share DNA with, would radically transform notions of kinship. Adopting this expanded concept of surrogacy helps us to see that it always, as the saying goes, takes a village to raise a child.
About the Author
Sophie Lewis is a theorist, critic and translator living in Philadelphia. She publishes her work – on topics ranging from dating to Donna Haraway – on both scholarly and non-academic platforms including Boston Review, Viewpoint, Signs, Science as Culture, Jacobin, The New Inquiry, Mute, and Salvage Quarterly. Her translations include Communism for Kids by Bini Adamczak (MIT, 2016, with Jacob Blumenfeld), A Brief History of Feminism by Antje Schrupp (MIT, 2017), and Other and Rule by Sabine Hark and Paula Villa (Verso, forthcoming). A feminist committed to cyborg ecology and queer communism, she is a member of the Out of the Woods collective and an editor at Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry.
Moira Weigel is a postdoctoral scholar at the Harvard Society of Fellows, the author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating and a founding editor of Logic magazine.