Not Just a Mother's "Right to Privacy"

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Dec 01, 2008 5:49 PM
In the cover story of this week's New York Times magazine, Alex Kuczynski writes about her experience with infertility, and how it was resolved by employing a gestational surrogate (i.e., another woman carried the baby created by Kuczynski and her husband).

The self-absorption of the piece isn't surprising -- and not just because that characterizes Kuczynski's style.  It's because I've observed that every woman who has ever struggled with infertility somehow feels that her journey is unique and finds meaning in it through the retelling.  And that's okay.

But what's not clear to me is how anyone can go through Kuczynski's experience and still remain resolutely pro-choice (the author and her surrogate excitedly discover that both are Obama supporters).  In fact, note this paragraph from the piece's end, as the author's husband helps her cope with her feelings of inadequacy:

You gave birth to our baby,” he told me. “The doctors went in and took our baby out of you 10 months ago.” He was casting back to the day the doctor removed my eggs. “It was like a C-section. They just went in and got him when he was very small. And now he is here, and as much a part of you as if he had come out of your body. Because he did come out of your body.”


Hm.  A true-blue pro-lifer couldn't have explained it any better.  And yet the substance of the piece so clearly reflects the pro-choice world view -- down, even, to the decision to write it.

After all, the story of how the author's son came into the world isn't just hers and her husband's -- it's the baby's, too.  Did it ever occur to her that just maybe her son wouldn't want the intimate details about his conception and gestation laid out for the world to read?  Or even that it's a possibility worth considering?

Apparently not -- because in Kuczynski's world, all the "choices" belong to the mother, alone.  I take my hat off to her for her strength and endurance in confronting the difficulties and heartaches that paved her road to motherhood -- and I wish her and her family all the best. 

But along with the "right to privacy" that abortion rights hang on, doesn't the author's son deserved a little more privacy than he was provided by his mother?