Debra Satz And Elizabeth Anderson: The Moral Dilemmas Of Paid Surrogate Motherhood

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Objectively speaking, women and men face starkly different realities. Women have for a long time been seen as subordinate to men in many respects, and women’s supposed lesser status has subjected them to an unwarranted slew of problems and dilemmas, all rooted in this arbitrarily established inequality. Debra Satz and Elizabeth Anderson write on two sets of moral dilemmas—prostitution and paid surrogate motherhood, respectively—that are specific to womanhood. Satz and Anderson both believe that the practices they describe are wrong, with Anderson coming out forthright in favor of the abolition of paid surrogate motherhood and with Satz warily mentioning that she supports decriminalization. I disagree with Anderson on the account that her criticism of paid surrogate motherhood is paternalistic in a way that Satz’s argument about prostitution is not. I sympathize with Satz on the basis that prostitution, as a practice looked at through the lens of societal circumstances today, contributes to systems of gender inequality, an argument that I believe cannot be extended to the case of paid surrogate motherhood. Thus, I believe that both prostitution and paid surrogate motherhood ought to be legal and regulated for the safety and wellbeing of the women involved. While practices specific to women like these do pose the risk of perpetuating gender inequalities, these inequalities ought to be addressed not by prohibiting these practices but by addressing the misogynistic undertones

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