Birth Power

The Case for Surrogacy

Carmel Shalev

View Inside Price: $16.00


July 24, 1991
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300051186
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth

In this book a feminist lawyer argues in favor of surrogate motherhood, contending that the law must treat women who choose to become surrogates as autonomous parties to a binding contract. To do otherwise, says Carmel Shalev, is both to reinforce a paternalistic system that governs reproductive law and to deny women legal equality and autonomy. Reviewing family and reproductive issues from ancient times to Baby M., Shalev argues persuasively that to overcome the psychological constraints of a patriarchal society, it is necessary for women to regard themselves as responsible for their reproductive decisions.
 
"A liberal feminist lawyer argues forcibly that women should have the legal right to sell their reproduction services (and the obligation to fulfill their contracts)."—New York Times Book Review
 
"A fascinating historical account of attitudes to reproductive medicine as seen from both a feminist and a legal perspective."—Peter Bromwich, Social History of Medicine
 
"Carmel Shalev presents her argument for ’a free market in reproduction,’ for recognition of ’the reproducing woman as an autonomous moral and economic agent,’ with intelligence, force, and erudition. This is a book that will provoke passionate response from lawyers and feminists—indeed, from anyone concerned with the social, economic, and legal aspects of reproduction in our age—and should be read for that very reason."—Nancy F. Cott
 
One of the 1990 New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year

"In this probing argument on behalf of surrogate motherhood, lawyer and liberal feminist Shalev looks carefully at the full spectrum of legal, economic, moral, and social issues surrounding both the concept and the practice of surrogacy."—Booklist



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"It is filled with interesting material, much of which could support either position on surrogacy, with occasional interjections from the author announcing what her own position is. The most interesting parts of the book are the descriptions of the development of our society’s attitudes concerning artificial insemination, illegitimacy, paternal irresponsibility toward children, unmarried mothers, and adoption. In a very readable fashion, the author traces these developments from the nineteenth century. . . . The historical material is entertaining and could provide the basis for varying positions in the surrogacy debate."—Martha A. Field, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

"A rich history of women’s reproductive and sexual oppression since the dawn of time. . . . Shalev concisely and convincingly redescribes the nature of procreative tyranny of women by men in the name of paternal security. . . . Shalev’s case is deftly stated. In less than two hundred textual pages, she covers efficiently and engagingly not only her thesis, but the arguments that may be anticipated against it. . . . The book is cleanly and conscientiously written. . . . Her vision is bold and well worth considering. . . . Her clarity and seemingly straightforward logic . . . strongly recommend her."—Leigh Anne Chavez, NWSA Journal

"A fascinating historical account of attitudes to reproductive medicine as seen from both a feminist and a legal perspective."—Peter Bromwich, Social History of Medicine

"A comprehensive account of feminine reproductive history from common law to the present. Shalev defines the legal issues as well as the evolution of societal acceptance of related untraditional parenting processes. . . . A powerfully argued analysis of perhaps the most controversial moral concern of our time: the legal aspects of reproduction. . . . The historical account is absorbing, and several of Shalev’s arguments are enlightening to even the most conservative of readers."—Laura Poolin, Commentaries: Reviews of Books on Law or Public Policy

"[Shalev] does a good job of outlining the dilemmas of surrogacy."—News for Women in Psychiatry

"This book offers a feminist argument in favor of surrogacy. Beginning with an account of the Baby M case and a review of conflicting court opinions, Shalev surveys family and reproductive issues from ancient times to the present, and analyzes the regulation of contemporary reproductive relations in areas such as adoption, abortion, in vitro fertilization, and artificial insemination. She argues that surrogate motherhood should be viewed as a legally binding contract, because outlawing surrogacy takes the decision out of women’s hands and reinforces the paternalism embedded in current reproductive legislation."—Law and Social Inquiry

"The work is thoughtful, thorough, original, and highly readable. . . . It is not only a must-read for anyone interested in the topic, but one of those rare ’musts’ that will also be a pleasure."—Ann Britton, Legal Publishing Preview

"Shalev has produced a remarkable book that challenges most of the existing thinking about the dangers and advantages of surrogate mothering, using feminist analysis to argue against the more familiar feminist critiques of surrogacy. . . . Her case is strong and merits close examination."—Ethics

"Arguing that if women are to overcome the psychological constraints of patriarchy, they must be seen as autonomous agents responsible for their own reproductive decisions, Shalev defends surrogacy contracts and explores the laws governing reproductive relationships."—Varun Gauri, Hastings Center Report

"Impressively argued"—Mary Ellen Gale, New York Times Book Review

"Highly recommended for all libraries."—Choice

"A liberal feminist defense of surrogate motherhood (women’s rights to control our bodies includes the right to bear children for money)."—Kris Hoover, Feminist Bookstore News

"A liberal feminist lawyer argues forcibly that women should have the legal right to sell their reproduction services (and the obligation to fulfill their contracts)."—New York Times Book Review

"In this probing argument on behalf of surrogate motherhood, lawyer and liberal feminist Shalev looks carefully at the full spectrum of legal, economic, moral, and social issues surrounding both the concept and the practice of surrogacy. . . . Especially recommended for legal scholars and practitioners, feminist historians, and medical ethicists."—Booklist

"The first comprehensive treatment of surrogacy from a liberal feminist perspective. Shalev embraces a definite proposal—surrogacy by enforceable contract—and sticks with it."—Ann C. Scales, University of New Mexico

"Carmel Shalev presents her argument for ’a free market in reproduction,’ for recognition of ’the reproducing woman as an autonomous moral and economic agent,’ with intelligence, force, and erudition. This is a book that will provoke passionate response from lawyers and feminists—indeed, from anyone concerned with the social, economic, and legal aspects of reproduction in our age—and should be read for that very reason."—Nancy F. Cott

Third prize winner in the 1991 Gitzelter Foundation competition for research on the inter-relations of medicine, law and morality

One of the 1990 New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year

Third prize winner in the 1991 Gitzelter Foundation competition for research on the inter-relations of medicine, law and morality