Thursday, January 3, 2008

Post-colonial cliches come to life

The newest development in outsourcing: Indian women renting out their wombs to Westerners:
In a new twist to the outsourcing for which India has become renowned, poor Indian women are renting out their wombs to foreigners. Surrogate motherhood -- carrying to term and giving birth to another woman's baby - once was limited in India to helping close relatives who couldn't complete a pregnancy due to medical difficulties. But leading gynecologist Dr. Kamla Selvaraj says it's now becoming a regular "profession" in India, with more and more women willing to carry babies for others, for a fee.

Women's counselor Harleen Ahluwalia says surrogacy cases are estimated to have nearly doubled in the past three years. "Foreigners find Indian legal procedures easy and less exploitative, unlike [in the] U.S., where any complication could cost a fortune," she said.

While a couple in the U.S. will generally pay tens of thousands of dollars to a surrogate mother and affiliated agencies, in India the cost could be around $5,000, plus medical and attendant costs.

Note the special use of "exploitative" in the second paragraph -- it refers to the fears of the "customers" that they might be liable in case of complications to the surrogate.

You grope for some line about capitalism colonizing the bodies of the poor, but that doesn't seem clever or insightful here. Just ... true.