Colonialism used to be about the rich exploiting the resources of other lands. Now, biological colonialism (as I call it) finds well off (mostly) Westerners exploiting destitute people in developing countries for their body parts and functions, essentially using people as natural resources.
Renting uteruses of destitute Indian women for their gestational capacities–just one form of BC–is apparently on the rise. From a story in the Independent:
Stephen Hill and his partner Johnathon Busher first held their twin girls in their arms less than 12 hours after their birth in a Delhi hospital last April.The gay couple, from the West Midlands, had been together for 18 years when they decided they wanted a family.
In 2011, they travelled to India and agreed a contract with a clinic in Delhi where Mr Hill’s sperm was used to fertilise an egg from a donor they had selected, and the resulting embryo was implanted in a surrogate mother. When the twins were born there was an “awkward moment” before the surrogate mother agreed to hand them over, as her husband had been telling medical staff the infants were his own. “She was reminded that it was a deal and she was fine. She was a little bit too attached and she needed to be reminded,” Mr Busher said. “We produced the contract and we were able to take them out of the hospital. We were so happy our feet didn’t touch the ground.”
How nice for them, but the mother left behind isn’t so happy because she became attached to the babies from nine months of gestation. It could have been worse: Some of the women in India whose bodies were rented in the fertility industry have died.
You see, she didn’t matter. She was just a “gestational carrier,” in the dehumanizing parlance of the IVF industry. What counts is our sense of entitlement–to a baby, to a kidney, to experiment results, sexual release, etc. Biological colonialism objectifies and exploits vulnerable and desperate human beings. It should be stopped.