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​I, a belated feminist and mother, am against surrogate motherhood

· Letters ·

My name is Roberta Trucco and I describe myself as a belated feminist although I represent the typical stereotype of an anti-feminist: I’m Catholic, I’m a housewife, I’m married and I’m the mother of four children. Several years ago I began to be interested in surrogacy. While browsing on the internet I came across the #stopsurrogacynow# petition launched by Jennifer Lahl in California. It was enough for me to read its manifesto and I signed immediately. My adherence certainly stemmed from a profound motivation “deep within me”. We women are our bodies: Anna Maria van Schurman, a 17th-century philosopher and theologian, with great foresight contrasted Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” [I think therefore I am] with “Sum ergo cogito” [I am therefore I think].

Today after years of intense confrontations, together with many other women we have worked out enough arguments to show how dehumanizing and aberrant this practice is. Breaking up motherhood means reducing gestation to a process without a soul and without a history, as if our bodies were merely conduits through which life runs, a life that leaves no mark; It means inserting the complex and marvellous process of the nine-month relationship between the foetus and the mother into a market system in which the value of an ovum or of sperm is equated with the process of pregnancy and hence means accepting that capitalism (the market) enters imperatively into the logic of maternity. Motherhood is not negotiable. The mother, whether she will look after the child once he or she is no longer in her belly or not at all, whether she wanted this child or not, will be for ever written into the identity of the individual generated, and for me this function, with the full and even dramatic weight of responsibility, is a sacred and untouchable function.

The self-determination of women in this case has nothing to do with it, we cannot have at our disposal what is not available, and relationships can be neither donated nor sold. We do not need to be mothers to understand that this practice lends itself to becoming the slave trade of the third millennium and a kind of trafficking masked by a fallacious idea of freedom. We are all, men and women, born from a woman and in our innermost depths we know how indelible is the memory of that body which brought us forth and how basic a part of our identity it is.

Roberta Trucco, Genoa

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Sept. 18, 2019

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