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