The “Pussyhat” Project

Marjorie Murphy Campbell

“We need to be remembered for our passion and purpose, not our pink pussycat hats.”~Petula Dvorak

In a heart-breaking negation of the core concept of January 21’s Women’s March in D.C., Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh have launched a parallel project dubbed the “Pussyhat Project.” Zweiman and Suh aim to create “a powerful visual statement” at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C – a sea of pink “pussies” demanding “fair treatment” and “honoring the truth.” Their environmental visual seeks to eliminate the differences between the many diverse attendees and create a “community” of women all wearing matching, handcrafted “pussy” hats.

LI-88d-Pussyhat-620x424No doubt well-intentioned by the organizers and knitters, this project harms the March, as well as feminism, women and girls, and  victims of sexual abuse and feminism,.

“Pussyhats” compromise the mission and purpose of the March. The purpose of the January 21 March is to feature “diversity” and to “reflect our multiple and intersecting identities.” From its inception, the March’s design and leadership have sought to promote a wide variety of identity groups, “joined in diversity,” while equating “women’s rights” with all “human rights,” including the most marginalized in society. Empathy and love, often associated with the feminine, motivate the peaceful, nonviolence of the event, an event meant to be an obvious coalition of “diverse communities.”

Zweiman and Suh have organized a vast effort to mask this very diversity and create for every woman attending a bright pink “pussy” cap. This spectacle threatens to obscure the crowd’s diversity and upend the purpose of the March.

Worse, the “sameness” they seek derives from a vile, derogatory reference to women’s sexual organs. Creating a sea of “pussies” will dramatically change the impact of this event, giving commentators and the media an easy excuse to ignore the serious, often complex, issues motivating women to protest. Already, news outlets – like USA Today – seem sadly captivated with “pussyhats” rather than issues at the heart of the March.  Challenging women not attending the event to craft and donate thousands of these caps eclipses the opportunity to engage women everywhere in the issues targeted by each protester.

 “Pussy” hurts women. Did Zweiman and Suh consider how hurtful and bullying the term “pussy” is for multitudes of girls and women? Fresh off a widely broadcast, triggering, derogatory use of the term by the President-elect, many women sincerely fear the new administration. They genuinely worry that feminism’s gains face reversal, along with a reassertion of a primarily sexual role for females, one based upon a uniform, male-driven scale of beauty.

In the aftermath of this controversy, some women have reportedly suffered hate crimes, taunted by catcalls and intimidation with the word “pussy” and related epithets. One college took action and called a post-election posting “with the message ‘Suck it up, pussies!'” a “targeted act of intimidation and cowardice.” This threat to the worth and dignity of each individual female concerns all women collectively.

Rather than soundly rejecting this derogatory hate term of harassment and objectification – and affirm women’s worth as a gender critical to the well being of society – Zweiman and Suh join the male, deprecatory voice to the March. They specifically acknowledge that “pussy” is “a derogatory term for female genitalia” but rationalize its use as a “term of empowerment.” How can slanderous objectification and stereotyping of women ever “empower” them to oppose their oppression and stand firm for their dignity and worth?

Now as before, women must refuse to be meek and guileful, for truth cannot be served by dissimulation. Women who fancy that they manipulate the world by pussy power and gentle cajolery are fools. It is slavery to have to adopt such tactics. ~Germaine Greer

The organizers’ claim that use of this vile word “empowers” women denies and invalidates the experience of women victimized by male verbal and sexual abuse. Yet the organizers and knitters are creating a social pressure and expectation for full inclusion in this community of women that everyone should don a “pussyhat.”  The very women who have compelling personal reasons to participate in this March – women sexually abused by men – might reasonably stay home, rather than deal with a long, triggering day of “pussyhats” and “pussy power.”

“Pussyhats” normalize sexualizing females. If the March draws the hundreds of thousands of women it envisions, media coverage will be abundant. Saturday evening news and Sunday talk shows will echo with debates about the sexualizing, pink hats and with open, uncensured use of the offensive “pussy” and “pussies.” Inevitably, there will be quips and snickering and offensive innuendo.

By Monday morning, every girl in the English-speaking world will know the reference and “pussy” will be a normal way of referring to a female whether in our elementary schools, colleges or workplaces. The “pussyhat” movement will have destroyed decades of work by courageous women – including victims of verbal abuse – by normalizing the derogatory term and purposefully injecting it into mainstream media as an appropriate reference to the female.

Imagine the harm Monday morning, as women across the country return to their workplaces and male colleagues – you know who they are – chide, “So, where’s your pussy hat?” or “Did your pussyhat keep your head warm?’   or “Did you have your head up your pussyhat?” How can an employer, teacher or manager address such nasty, derisive, sexual innuendo when women themselves normalized the word?

Even as I write, the subtle process of normalizing is apparent. The organizers fail to denote the pejorative nature of the word, typically reflected by a refusal to reprint the word in it’s entirety, e.g. “‘Suck it up p***ies!’ sticky note mocking anti-Trump students being investigated — as a hate crime.” Practically, to discuss the project, commentators, like myself, are forced to use the word as simply another noun.

“Pussyhats” trivialize crucial women’s issues. Finally, it must be observed that the “Pussyhat Project” smacks of affluence and privilege, myopically claiming knitting and crocheting as “traditionally women’s crafts.” While these crafts may well be fashionable in the organizers demographic bracket, only 1/3 of women even know how to knit or crochet. More, the average working woman, juggling job demands, family needs and life’s everyday stresses, is far more concerned with issues impacting daily life, such as childcare, medical coverage and job availability. The image of women leisurely sitting in supportive female circles whilst  knitting and crocheting through an evening is pure fiction for most women today.

This image is also frankly frivolous compared to the dire, pressing social issues with which girls and women desperately need help and support. Consider the children and women in the District of Columbia who, while the “pussyhat” marchers demand “fair treatment”, are trapped in sexual slavery.

Right here in the nation’s capital, our most vulnerable residents — children — are subjected to sex slavery. Their stories don’t make the evening news or even warrant blurbs in your morning paper. But human trafficking is, and has been, a shadowy and seamy part of D.C. life.

Sexual assault remains rampant in the United States, with 1 in 5 women saying they had been a victim, according to a 2011 survey. “Pussy” for these women and children, sexually enslaved and sexually damaged, is not “clever wordplay,” as Zweiman and Suh callously assert in their mission statement. “Pussy” is an intimate, private part of their bodies, which has been violated, commercialized, abused and wounded.

Women largely voted for Hillary Clinton out of concern for their rights as women. While 42% of women did vote for Donald Trump (including myself), their vote by no means signals satisfaction with issues of concern to women. Whether, like me, you are appalled by the killing of unborn girls and sexual trafficking of children or by the objectification of women as sex slaves or commercial wombs for hire, or whether you have other issues of concern such as pornography, unequal pay, access to education, the March is an opportunity to express both our concerns and our serious commitment to activism. As columnist Dvorak so eloquently said, “We can’t make a difference with goofy hats, cheeky signs and silly songs. This is our chance to stand up, to remind the world how powerful we are and demand to be heard. . . . We need to be remembered for our passion and purpose, not our pink pussycat hats.”

I urge Zweiman and Suh to scale back this ill-conceived project and discourage protestors from wearing “pussyhats.” I urge groups of women marching together to say “no” to this project and march as the serious-minded, worthy individuals they are. Let women’s concerns and solutions issue forth from this March, not over-shadowed by a pink, sexualizing, stereotyping scheme that commands press coverage.

 

Women Vote: Bernadette Cudzilo (IL)

Bernadette Cudzilo

Contributed by Bernadette Cudzilo

My name is Bernadette Cudzilo, I am a Roman Catholic, wife, mother and grandmother. I work for a non-for profit healthcare accrediting company.

On November 8th this year I will cast my vote for Donald Trump.

Trump was not my first choice in the Republican primary, but he was the majority’s choice. I feel we should support the democratic process and he was chosen. Yes, I am disappointed in the leadership of the Republican Party. I feel this election year will change it forever! People are not satisfied with what is happening in America; what is happening to our freedoms.

My decision to vote for Trump was influenced by several factors, including Donald Trump’s stand on pro-life. Remember that it was Bill Clinton who allowed partial birth abortion. Obama, an Illinois senator, supported this legislation. If Hillary Clinton is elected, this will only perpetrate the evil of abortion. Both Clintons were involved in supporting partial birth abortion: how can you be more against pro-life than aborting a baby at 8 months? This is the most horrific attack against innocence! I can only say that you must choose Trump if you are pro-life.

Also, Trump is correct about what makes a country. First, you have to have borders and, second, you must protect these borders. Like most Americans, my family is here because our grandparents left their homeland to come here for a better life; but they came here legally. What is going on in Europe confirms that when you have open borders, you don’t know who is coming and why they are coming.

I know that Trump’s temperament and language can be offensive, but he is not a polished politician. We must look beyond the image which is painted by the media and look at the essence of the individual. None of us are sinless and many would fail if we were put under such scrutiny by those who are against us.

Hillary Clinton is not a defender of woman. Today, she says every woman has a right to be believed when she has been sexually assaulted, but when Bill Clinton was assaulting women, she called them trailer trash and stood by her man. Why weren’t these woman allowed to be believed? I read the book, Crises of Character, written by a secret service agent. She has two faces and never really shows her true self.

Trump and Clinton are very different. Hillary Clinton, prochoice … Donald Trump, pro-life … Clinton, open borders …Donald Trump, controlled borders … Clinton, pay-to-play big government … Donald Trump, smaller federal government … Clinton, government economic stimulation …Donald Trump, business to grow the economy … Clinton, enrichment by selling favors … Trump, wealth through growing a business …Clinton, 100,000 Syrian Muslim refugees into the U.S.A. … Trump, concern for the 3% Syrian Christians who are being martyred.

There is only one choice for me, Donald Trump.

If you haven’t made a decision as to who you are going to vote for, please, consider voting for Trump because he will protect your freedoms.

 

Women Vote: Marjorie Dannenfelser (VA)

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Contributed by Marjorie Dannenfelser

In our continuing series “Women Vote,” we interviewed Marjorie Dannenfelser. Dannenfelser is the president of Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life political organization. ~ Editor

Q. Have you decided for whom you are going to vote on November 8?

 Yes, I will be voting for Donald Trump.

Q. Was this a difficult decision for you?

When the race came down to two, there was no question of whom I would support. Donald Trump is a convert to the pro-life issue, as he has explained. Converts do not always use the same words as longtime activists, but they do speak with passion and conviction when faced with the reality of the horror of abortion.

Q. What factors most influenced your choice?

In this election we’re not voting for the most virtuous candidate, or the one with perfect character. As with every election, policy commitments are what will chart the course for the future. Each candidate’s approach to the Supreme Court will, far and away, have the most important implications for our nation’s future. That’s why policy is the main factor to consider when choosing whom to support.

Q. Which policy most concerns you, specifically?

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump’s pro-life commitments have gotten increasingly stronger. He’s pledged to defund America’s #1 abortion chain Planned Parenthood, advance and sign into law the Pain-Capable bill, and protect the Hyde Amendment. Most importantly, he’s pledged to appoint pro-life Justices to the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has promised the abortion industry she will be their advocate. She has doubled down on her support for abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers. There is not a single unborn child she would protect from abortion.

Q. Many women have been offended by comments made by the candidate Trump about women, Mexicans and immigrants, What do you think of his temperament and language?

I cannot and will not defend many of the things Donald Trump has said on the campaign trail. His comments about women were horrifying and triggering for women and girls who have been victims of sexual assault and harassment. Similarly horrifying is Hillary Clinton’s treatment of the women who came in and out of her husband’s life, whom she sought to blame, shame, and ruin.

Q. Many women have been offended by behaviors of the candidate Clinton toward her husband’s lovers, including Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky and others and towards people who have and do work for her, such as Secret Service agents? What do you think of her temperament and language?

Hillary Clinton has ignored, belittled, and defamed the women injured by her husband. She even defended a child rapist, and was caught on tape laughing at how she had helped him escape punishment. Her treatment of women is indefensible. In the face of two candidates like this, policy must be the deciding factor in considering whom to vote for.

Q. Many women are concerned with pro-life issues, especially recognizing the humanity and rights of the fetus. Which candidate do you find closest to your thinking on this issue. Why?

Donald Trump is, without question, the only pro-life candidate. He has pledged to defund the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, appoint pro-life Justices to the Supreme Court, advance and sign into law the Pain-Capable bill to end late-term abortion after five months, and to protect the Hyde Amendment which bars taxpayer funds from being used for elective abortion. Hillary Clinton is the abortion industry’s candidate. Planned Parenthood is spending $30 million to help elect her. In return, she’s pledged to always “have their back,” and to open wide the gates of taxpayer funding of abortion by repealing the longstanding Hyde Amendment and expanding abortion on-demand without limits.

Q. Are there other differences between Trump and Clinton which you view as fundamentally opposed?

Hillary Clinton has reduced to almost nothing the centrality of faith in day to day life. She has said that deep seated religious beliefs and cultural codes need to be changed.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to say to women who are discerning how to vote on November 8?

I am hopeful that our first female president will embody values that we can be proud of as Americans and as people of faith. Being involved in politics at both the national and state levels, I am confident that the right woman will come along soon. There are many active, passionate women serving today in elected position – women who value the dignity and rights of the unborn. I look forward to supporting a pro-life female president in future elections. 

Susan B. Anthony List and its connected super PAC, Women Speak Out so far have spent more than $18 million in the 2016 election cycle, knocking on more than one million doors in battleground states to defeat Hillary Clinton and maintain a pro-life Senate. SBA List pursues policies and elects candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion.

 

Women Vote: Vicki Evans (CA)

Vicki Evans

Contributed by Vicki Evans

My name is Vicki Evans and I am happy to be sharing with you how I discerned my vote for the Presidential election next week. I’m a CPA and have run a small business for decades. I’m also a pro-life activist with an advanced degree in bioethics.

I have watched our country’s ethically treacherous path accelerate under the Obama Administration.  I have dreaded Hillary Clinton’s rise as first female presidential nominee in this already ethically perilous environment. Her extremism on issues like abortion puts her completely out of touch with women on the ground. In her view of feminism, “reproductive rights” define women.

We are about so much more.

Labeling Hillary a hypocrite would be an understatement. She “plays the woman card” when it’s useful. Her every decision and stance is politically calculated. When it comes to having actual empathy for women, she does not. Her viciousness towards Bill’s paramours remains notorious. Today, that viciousness extends to all women, women like me, who do not share her extreme pro-abortion convictions. Like all other pro-life women, I fall into her “basket of deplorables.”

Similarly, in the pursuit of her personal goals, Hillary has blithely risked national security and ignored the rule of law. The Clinton Foundation has been involved for years in million-dollar “pay-to-play” transactions with foreign countries, many of which have no regard for human rights. Her email scandal appears far from over.

Compared to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is fresh air. We need a populist candidate to stop the tide of political elites dictating our moral beliefs. I am confident that Donald Trump will roll back the extreme social policies of the Obama Administration – which would become even more radical under a Clinton Administration.

I know many are offended by Mr. Trump’s comments. However, I am offended by the political correctness that is required in today’s society. As an employer, I’m offended that ObamaCare requires employers, including religious ones, to facilitate no-cost contraception to their employees. I’m offended that our religious freedoms are fast becoming a thing of the past and that conscientious objection is now called discrimination. I’m offended that government regulations have reached into our schools to dictate bathroom use and that the federal government is intent on obliterating states’ rights by forbidding any curtailment of funding for Planned Parenthood, effectively ignoring its trade in fetal body parts. I’m offended that Hillary Clinton has now set her sights on forcing taxpayers to finance unlimited abortions both here and abroad.

Deciding to vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence was not a difficult decision – they propose much that I believe in and offer hope for a nation in moral decline.

No candidate is memory has released a list of specific pro-life judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump released two such lists. It’s safe to say that, beyond appointments to the Supreme Court, a President Trump would stop packing the circuit courts and courts of appeals with liberal judges intent on creating social policy.

No other candidate has ever promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment and return First Amendment rights to our pastors, allowing churches to more fully participate in the public square.

I see Trump as being honest and probably too forthright for his own good as a candidate. I live in the real world and I have heard much worse than Trump’s crude remarks – such as being called a bigot to my face for believing in marriage between a man and a women.

Please get out and vote, and vote for Donald Trump! Don’t let our children grow up in a world without ethics and our basic freedoms.

Women Vote: Cathleen Gillies (CO)

Cathleen Gillies

Contributed by Cathleen Gillies

This post begins a series profiling how individual women voters discern their choice on the 2016 Presidential ticket. Please feel free to comment and question and join in the discussion. (Comments are monitored so they do not appear immediately. Please see the Policy on Comments.) ~Editor

 

Greetings All. My name is Cathleen Gillies. I am a Catholic wife, mother, bond salesman and pro-life advocate.

On the 2016 Presidential ticket, I have decided to vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. I’d like to share the reasons for my decision with the readers of NewFeminism.co.

This decision was not particularly difficult for me personally. While I recognize that he has come across as rude and brash from the beginning, I felt that Donald Trump was laying the truth on our nation. I feel that he is standing up for all the people the ruling class holds in contempt: people of faith, the working class people and the people who live in the heartland of our nation.  Theses people, who include me, have been taken for granted and ignored by both parties.

I love that Trump is not afraid to call Christmas, Christmas.

As a Catholic and a pro-lifer, I am very concerned about religious liberty and life issues.  Although I’m not 100% certain what Trump is going to do, I definitely know what Hillary Clinton’s plans to do and this SCARES ME.

I’ve been impressed by Trump’s small, human gestures Trump sent a personal note to my husband’s cousin after learning that his mother and our cousin’s mother were born in the same hospital. This is not the blustering bigot the media tries to present.

I am convinced that the media takes Trump’s word and language out of context. To me, he comes across as teaching people to “please grow up and let’s talk real.” I appreciate this.

I also personally met and greeted Hillary Clinton who left me feeling cold.

Clinton represents to me the biggest hypocrite – she lies and attempts to cover up who she is, where as with Trump what you see is what you get.  He’s refreshing.

Pro-life issues remain a primary concern of mine. We know that Trump has been a pro-life crusader in this election and we know that Clinton knows that an unborn child is a human being but says these children have no rights at all.  From Clinton’s track record we know she pushes pro-abortion agenda. Donald Trump he’s provided a list of potential Supreme Court nominees who are all pro life.

He is not anti-immigrant but he will stand up to follow the laws that protect our nation from people who want to break the laws and or attack us.  Our current administration is failing to do this.

For all of his vanity and showman ship – I get the feeling that he is a patriot at heart and cares about his country.  I can’t say this about Hillary Clinton and her dealings with selling the government to people who paid her Clinton Foundation money. Foreign countries that funded the foundation now have direct access to the US government.  This angers and scares me – because these countries don’t share my values especially since the countries hate women and children.

I don’t consider Hillary Clinton trustworthy. I’ll take my chance with Donald Trump.

I ask all my fellow sisters in Christ to Pray. Pray. Pray.  For Catholic women, please join me in confession, Mass and Rosary.

Trump the Guy: A Response

Leah Jacobson

Contributed by Leah Jacobson

Recently I was asked to comment, as a New Feminist, on my friend Marjorie Campbell’s post “Trump the Guy”. As someone who has strong opinions on the type of leader I feel America needs right now, I agreed to read and see how one of my colleagues in the New Feminist movement might feel about the leader of the GOP hunt for the party nomination. As I read her post I’ll admit I was honestly surprised to see Campbell attempt to personalize a man who she herself outs in her first few paragraphs as someone who is capable of making obscene and degrading comments about women. How can someone who openly admits that a candidate has publicly rated women based solely on their appearance find enough redeeming qualities to give what appears to be support for them as a candidate? Well, honestly, I don’t think she was able to do that.

When I began reading Campbell’s post, I expected it to evolve into a strong rallying cry for New Feminists to unite and teach our daughters to expect more from their male counterparts. I expected an honest assessment of why this man might appear appealing initially to some women, but then a firm reminder that we as complentarianists expect a level of respect and equal dignity to be given to the opposite sex at all times.

Campbell took a strange and unexpected turn however when she calls attention to the fact that Trump is enjoying a lot of support from women, particularly women with little education. To me it is would go without much investigation that his female supporters would be poorly educated, as women with higher levels of learning tend to have higher self-confidence and higher expectations of men.  In a Gallup poll released in December, Trump had the lowest net favorable rating out of all the candidates among college-educated Republican women. In that same poll it was summed up that “Trump is not that popular in general among Republicans, but has a particular image problem among women and those with college and postgraduate degrees. Looking at this from a different angle, Trump clearly has his greatest appeal to Republican men — and, in particular, to Republican men without a college degree.” It would seem that the poorly educated women are likely voting alongside their poorly educated men.

Instead of acknowledging the limitations that can come along with lack of education, Campbell focuses on this demographic of uneducated women and uses them as representative of the majority of women. She states that the “small contingent of activist women” who are offended by the type of “guy talk” that is typical of Trump have “always been a minority, [however.]… Many of these women don’t like men. They don’t live with men; much less love a man as a primary component of their lives.” I couldn’t disagree more strongly with this as my own experience, and the experiences of most women I spoke with about this confirmed that we happily married heterosexual women expect a far higher level of behavior from our men, and that we are deeply offended by Trump’s comments. And I certainly do not think we are the minority contingent Campbell is referring to.

Campbell posits that the majority of women are not offended by what Donald Trump is saying and then goes on to say the reason is because of cultural white washing on gender differentiation. “For many of us men-loving females, especially those of us who live with working class and alpha males, Trump’s language is more than familiar; it is even intimate. We understand it, because we understand guy talk. It does not scare us.”

And that right there scares the hell outta me! If the majority of American women are OK with being rated on their looks, with being disrespected as wives, as employees, and as professionals then I am afraid that the New Feminist movement has a lot more work to do than I initially realized. This has nothing to do with men attempting to assert masculinity in a culture that has moved toward gender neutral status (that is another topic completely that I would be happy to continue discussing), but it does have everything to do with a narcissistic man playing on the insecurities in the average person for his own gain.

Campbell attempts to humanize Donald Trump by using a “guys will be guys” sort of approach and says that Americans are not turned off by his often crass comments because we are familiar with the type of man that Trump is. She says that many of our fathers, brothers, and husbands act just like him in the privacy of their homes and she puts forward that most Americans are not offended by this sort of man because we know them to be good natured underneath their obviously crusty exteriors. So because the average man has not lived up to the calling of authentic masculinity, we are supposed to embrace a man that epitomizes all the familiar bad qualities of the broken men we love?

Donald Trump is not merely just a guy who likes to kick back with his friends and embrace his “masculinity”. He doesn’t just like to have a beer and talk a little trashy with his buddies and rate a pretty girl that happens to walk by on Guys Night (which I would argue has nothing to do with authentic masculinity). No, his misogyny is a much higher level of degradation of women. And if we can’t see the difference between his actions and the smutty words of the men in our own lives, then we have drunk the Kool-Aide called Self-Denial, America.

What was not mentioned in “Trump the Guy” is that Trump’s misogynistic tendencies go much further than his foul mouth and personal life. Along with his dirty comments on Howard Stern and his divorces due to self admitted extramarital affairs, Trump actually has several business ventures that speak to his willingness to objectify women and profit off them. In August of 2013, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino became the first casino in Atlantic City, N.J., to have an in-house strip club.  Until this past month, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had a 10-percent ownership stake in that same Atlantic City casino and hotel, which also hosted a convention dedicated to the production, sale and promotion of hardcore pornography. The eXXXotica Expo occurred at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino & Resort in both April 2014 and April 2013.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the connections between the underworld of strip clubs, sex trafficking, pornography, and prostitution. It is a world that Trump is comfortable in and knows how to navigate. In March 1990 he even posed for the cover of Playboy magazine—next to a model wearing only his tuxedo jacket. Bottom line: Donald Trump has profited directly from the exploitation of women. I don’t think many of us would think of our hardworking fathers, brothers, and husbands when we think about a billionaire profiting off the sale of women’s bodies through the sex industry. But he does. Donald Trump is nothing like the hardworking blue-collar men that many of us are acquainted with, and to think otherwise is to fall victim to the fabulous marketing his campaign managers have used to endear him to frustrated voters.

Perhaps some voters are drawn to his candid, crass talk because they are tired of the political correctness that is required of presidential candidates. And maybe they do find some sanity in his noting differences between the sexes. I can understand how the effects of Feminism’s obsession with gender neutrality has gotten under their skin and they might just appreciate someone calling a woman beautiful, but what Trump is doing is NOT an effective response to the gender white washing that is currently in vogue. He is not calling women beautiful as his equal counter-part, but rather as a sign of his power.

What Campbell fails to call forward is that all gender differentiation should be done with respect for the beautiful strengths of the opposite sex. What Trump does repeatedly in his public comments, business decisions, and personal life is reduce the beauty of women’s contributions to the world down to their physical appearance. When he speaks of a woman of class like Princess Diana, he has to degrade her memory by saying she was “hot” and that he “could have slept with her”. A man with any sense of the equal worth of woman to him could not say such a callous stupid thing when looking at the accomplishments of the late Princess of Whales.

And so I disagree with my colleague. I do not know or recognize any of the men in my life when I see Donald Trump. He is not endearing, or clever, or innocently awkward. He is a dangerous misogynist that knows how to raise up a frustrated electorate. He is a business man who looks out for Number 1. He uses and exploits people for profit. He is NOT the model for the type of man who respects women or truly cares about our rights as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as wives. A vote for Donald Trump is a backwards vote for the progress of New Feminists everywhere.

Trump the Guy

Marjorie Murphy Campbell

 

For feminists of every fold, Donald Trump’s public statements about women cause pause. Let’s recap a few.

I do cherish, I love women… I will take care of women, and I have great respect for women. I do cherish women. And I will take care of women.”

“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” (Megyn Kelly) “Only Rosie O’Donnell” (Donald Trump)

“Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @megynkelly will consider other programs!” (Donald Trump)

While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.

“A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.” 

“Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”

There’s so much WRONG with these publicly delivered statements about women, which provide recurring text for the now regular headlining of “Trump’s Misogyny.” Trump’s crude, curdling language leaves many feminists – old style, New Feminists, pro-life feminists, current wave feminists – near breathless with frustration and anger and incomprehension. It’s all so inappropriate in this day of equality, cleansed speech and avoidance of any reference to gender differences.

So why, then, does this seemingly alarming candidate continue to receive significant support from women? How can any woman, much less the prevailing demographic of women without college degrees, vote for a man who publicly says such inappropriate things about women? Are Trump’s female supporters simply radical wackos who are giving him a “pass” on his misogyny – the way Gloria Steinem and radical feminists have given Bill Clinton a “pass” on his predatory behaviors against women?

I suspect this is actually opposite of reality.

I suspect that Trump’s female supporters are not forgiving his offensive language; they are not, in fact, offended.

Like so much of what Trump seems to unleash, there’s a surprise in the detail. For many of us – I include myself – Trump reminds us of our husbands, fathers, uncles and sons whose “guy” talk has been shushed, shamed and ejected from the public forum because it’s “offensive” to women – a complaint formulated and fomented by a small contingent of activist women.

This contingent constantly insists that all women loathe any reference to gender or gender differences. This contingent wields considerable influence and power in the public forum, often responsible for targeting and shaming even other women who breach protocol.

This loud, retributive group has always been a minority, however. Many of these women don’t like men. They don’t live with men, much less love a man as a primary component of their lives. As Elizabeth Fox-Genovese brilliantly observed, this small group of radicals have never reflected most women’s reality – a reality filled with great love for and attachment to men.

For many of us men-loving females, especially those of us who live with working class and alpha males, Trump’s language is more than familiar; it is even intimate. We understand it, because we understand guy talk.

It does not scare us.

*****************

My husband is working class by background – his father was a chief in the Navy. My husband’s claim to teenage fame was the number of times he was picked up by Tucson police for drag racing. Yet, my spouse outpaced his Dad in short order with both a college degree and a successful business career. He reads and discusses the most complicated of topics and he follows politics like some people follow the lottery. Many who know him think this: he’s incredibly well educated and well read – dazzlingly smart and successful. A long list of women with whom he has worked over decades call him friend and mentor.

What many don’t know about him is this: he hosts Steak Night for the “boys” once a week in our home – a raucous evening of beef, beer, red wine, cigars, pool and gales of gross male teasing and guffaws and loud proclamations for fixing the world. The “boys” cross party lines and vary in marital status, as well as their taste for alcohol, tobacco and lewdness. But they are all the same in a very guy way.

I usually linger to make sure that they are not using my Riedel wine glasses or any serving dishes I really hope still to have the next day. Inevitably, I hear one of them come up short, “Ooops. Marjorie is still here” and a round of snickering follows. I roll my eyes and tell them to behave. Then, I retire upstairs and, when it’s a full moon and their blood is thick, I put in earplugs.

I love the fun they have – the energy, the boasting, the roughness in the air. But I love it most when I don’t have to listen to it for long and when, the next morning, they have done a surprisingly good job of cleaning up the kitchen, dumping their empty bottles and hiding whatever they broke. Then, I get to hug to my macho husband and express my admiration for him and his pals.

It’s a lovely ritual.

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“I cannot stand that sort of man,” my mother once said to me, as she walked away from my grinning, cigar-mouthing husband.

And this is true. Many women have suffered at the hands of loud, gross males who know no boundaries, think empathy is Greek and refuse to learn even for love. I understand this. Patrimony, where the male dominants by unrestrained habit and demand, has dealt horrible cruelty across the ages. It’s very nearly in our female genes to fear the male.

But I married one, one who by force of socialization and purpose and religious faith strives for virtue in his maleness: loyalty, provision, protection, restraint, reason, justice, leadership and occasional mercy. But he’s no saint. He’s a guy. This husband would say, “I love women. Women are beautiful.” He would say, “I love going to PT. All the therapists are 10s.” My husband would say, “Women get medical stuff I don’t know about and someone should take care of that. We have to make that happen.” Too, he uses words like “pussification” and “neutered” and “loser” when commenting on other men’s decisions.

He thinks he is funny.

I’m not saying my husband is right or wrong. I am saying that he would say everything Trump has said. He would say it at Steak Night, he would say it to me and in our home and in conversation with friends.

But he would never dare say it publicly.

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Trump does dare to say all this, and more, publicly – as if he were in his home, on Steak Night, with Melania shaking her head and saying “Oh, for gosh sake, Donald” as she walks upstairs to find her earplugs.

Trump has reunited the public and private for a swath of society which, of late, seemed to be living underground, secretly but happily indulging civilized gender differences, interacting with each other in a loving ritual of difference, disapproval and endearment.

I understand why Trump the Guy scares women who have suffered at the will and whim of males. But I also understand why so many women embrace Trump the Guy whose awkward and politically incorrect commentary seems oh so familiar, even comforting. We hear everyday our husbands, fathers, uncles and sons bluster and boast and crudely joke. They think they are funny.

To us, we know this guy Trump. And he’s not scary. No, not at all.

Warning from Canada

Dawn Stefanowicz

Contributed by Dawn Stefanowicz

Americans need to understand that the endgame of the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.

I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005.

I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS. I described my experiences in my book: Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. Over fifty adult children who were raised by LGBT parents have communicated with me and share my concerns about same-sex marriage and parenting. Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up.

We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

Canada’s Lessons

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.

Why do police prosecute speech under the guise of eliminating “hate speech” when there are existing legal remedies and criminal protections against slander, defamation, threats, and assault that equally apply to all Americans? Hate-crime-like policies using the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” create unequal protections in law, whereby protected groups receive more legal protection than other groups.

Having witnessed how mob hysteria in Indiana caused the legislature to back-track on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, many Americans are beginning to understand that some activists on the Left want to usher in state control over every institution and freedom. In this scheme, personal autonomy and freedom of expression become nothing more than pipe dreams, and children become commodified.

Children are not commodities that can be justifiably severed from their natural parentage and traded between unrelated adults. Children in same-sex households will often deny their grief and pretend they don’t miss a biological parent, feeling pressured to speak positively due to the politics surrounding LGBT households. However, when children lose either of their biological parents because of death, divorce, adoption, or artificial reproductive technology, they experience a painful void. It is the same for us when our gay parent brings his or her same-sex partner(s) into our lives. Their partner(s) can never replace our missing biological parent.

The State as Ultimate Arbiter of Parenthood

Over and over, we are told that “permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.” That is a lie.

When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined.Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term “natural parent” and replace it across the board with gender-neutral “legal parent” in federal law. Now all children only have “legal parents,” as defined by the state. By legally erasing biological parenthood in this way, the state ignores children’s foremost right: their immutable, intrinsic yearning to know and be raised by their own biological parents.

Mothers and fathers bring unique and complementary gifts to their children. Contrary to the logic of same-sex marriage, the gender of parents matters for the healthy development of children. We know, for example, that the majority of incarcerated men did not have their fathers in the home. Fathers by their nature secure identity, instill direction, provide discipline, boundaries, and risk-taking adventures, and set lifelong examples for children. But fathers cannot nurture children in the womb or give birth to and breast-feed babies. Mothers nurture children in unique and beneficial ways that cannot be duplicated by fathers.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that men and women are anatomically, biologically, physiologically, psychologically, hormonally, and neurologically different from each other. These unique differences provide lifelong benefits to children that cannot be duplicated by same-gender “legal” parents acting out different gender roles or attempting to substitute for the missing male or female role model in the home.

In effect, same-sex marriage not only deprives children of their own rights to natural parentage, it gives the state the power to override the autonomy of biological parents, which means parental rights are usurped by the government.

Hate Tribunals Are Coming

In Canada, it is considered discriminatory to say that marriage is between a man and a woman or that every child should know and be raised by his or her biological married parents. It is not just politically incorrect in Canada to say so; you can be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fined, and forced to take sensitivity training.

Anyone who is offended by something you have said or written can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. In Canada, these organizations police speech, penalizing citizens for any expression deemed in opposition to particular sexual behaviors or protected groups identified under “sexual orientation.” It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.

The plaintiff making the complaint has his legal fees completely paid for by the government. Not so for the defendant. Even if the defendant is found innocent, he cannot recover his legal costs. If he is found guilty, he must pay fines to the person(s) who brought forth the complaint.

If your beliefs, values, and political opinions are different from the state’s, you risk losing your professional license, job, or business, and even your children. Look no further than the Lev Tahor Sect, an Orthodox Jewish sect. Many members, who had been involved in a bitter custody battle with child protection services, began leaving Chatham, Ontario, for Guatemala in March 2014, to escape prosecution for their religious faith, which conflicted with the Province’s guidelines for religious education. Of the two hundred sect members, only half a dozen families remain in Chatham.

Parents can expect state interference when it comes to moral values, parenting, and education—and not just in school. The state has access into your home to supervise you as the parent, to judge your suitability. And if the state doesn’t like what you are teaching your children, the state will attempt to remove them from your home.

Teachers cannot make comments in their social networks, write letters to editors, publicly debate, or vote according to their own conscience on their own time. They can be disciplined or lose any chance of tenure. They can be required at a bureaucrat’s whim to take re-education classes or sensitivity training, or be fired for thinking politically incorrect thoughts.

When same-sex marriage was created in Canada, gender-neutral language became legally mandated. Newspeak proclaims that it is discriminatory to assume a human being is male or female, or heterosexual. So, to be inclusive, special non-gender-specific language is being used in media, government, workplaces, and especially schools to avoid appearing ignorant, homophobic, or discriminatory. A special curriculum is being used in many schools to teach students how to use proper gender-neutral language. Unbeknownst to many parents, use of gender terms to describe husband and wife, father and mother, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and “he” and “she” is being steadily eradicated in Canadian schools.

Which Is More Important: Sexual Autonomy or the First Amendment?

Recently, an American professor who was anonymously interviewed for the American Conservativequestioned whether sexual autonomy is going to cost you your freedoms: “We are now at the point, he said, at which it is legitimate to ask if sexual autonomy is more important than the First Amendment?”

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens were supposed to have been guaranteed: (1) freedom of conscience and religion; (2) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (3) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (4) freedom of association. In reality, all of these freedoms have been curtailed with the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Wedding planners, rental halls, bed and breakfast owners, florists, photographers, and bakers have already seen their freedoms eroded, conscience rights ignored, and religious freedoms trampled in Canada. But this is not just about the wedding industry. Anybody who owns a business may not legally permit his or her conscience to inform business practices or decisions if those decisions are not in line with the tribunals’ decisions and the government’s sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination laws. In the end, this means that the state basically dictates whether and how citizens may express themselves.

Freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family, and sexuality is now restricted. Most faith communities have become “politically correct” to avoid fines and loss of charitable status. Canadian media are restricted by the Canadian Radio, Television, and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is similar to the FCC. If the media air anything considered discriminatory, broadcasting licenses can be revoked, and “human rights bodies” can charge fines and restrict future airings.

An example of legally curtailed speech regarding homosexuality in Canada involves the case of Bill Whatcott, who was arrested for hate speech in April 2014 after distributing pamphlets that were critical of homosexuality. Whether or not you agree with what he says, you should be aghast at this state-sanctioned gagging. Books, DVDs, and other materials can also be confiscated at the Canadian border if the materials are deemed “hateful.”

Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society in America if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience. Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.

Dawn Stefanowicz is an internationally recognized speaker and author. She is a member of the Testimonial Committee of the International Children’s Rights Institute. Her book, “Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting,” is available at http://www.dawnstefanowicz.org. Dawn, a full-time licensed accountant, is married and has two teenaged children.

This piece was originally published by The Witherspoon Institute.

Surrogacy and Gay Couples

Julie Bindel

Contributed by Julie Bindel

The right of gay couples to have children through surrogate parents is increasingly seen as an advance for equality, a triumph of tolerance over prejudice. That is why there was such an outcry recently when the Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stephano Gabbana described the IVF children of Sir Elton John as “synthetic.” Riding on a wave of indignation from his fans and calling for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana’s products, the pop legend told the designers, “shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.”

But this row has not prevented the iconoclastic writer and feminist Germaine Greer from renewing the criticism of Elton John and his partner David Furnish. In a talk this week at the Hay Literary Festival, Greer warned that the very concept of motherhood was now being “deconstructed” through the process of IVF surrogacy, pointing out the absurdity that Furnish is listed as the “mother” on the birth certificates of the two boys he has with John.

Well, I am with Germaine Greer on this one. Through all the cheerleading for supposed equality, our society has not faced up to the implications of commercial surrogacy or the cruel side of this growing industry. As we saw in the Dolce and Gabanna controversy, open debate has been inhibited by sentimental bullying, with the enthusiasts for surrogate parenthood now treating the practice as a inviolable sacred cow.

It is time for a bit of honesty. The accelerating boom in surrogacy for gay couples is no victory for freedom or emancipation. On the contrary, it represents a disturbing slide into the brutal exploitation of women who usually come from the developing world and are often bullied or pimped into selling their wombs to satisfy the selfish whims of wealthy gay or lesbian westerners. This cruelty is accompanied by epic hypocrisy. People from Europe and the USA who would shudder at the idea of involvement in human or sex trafficking have ended up indulging in a grotesque form of “reproductive trafficking”.

Moreover, their support for this vicious business has led to the shameful neglect of abandoned or abused children within Britain. As commercial surrogacy becomes ever more fashionable, so it is becoming increasingly difficult for the authorities to find foster or adoptive parents for the tens of thousands of looked-after children currently languishing in residential care. The deepening crisis in fostering and adoption fills me with despair. As a lesbian feminist, I campaigned for years for gays and lesbians to be allowed to adopt children, not only because of our own fundamental human rights to have a family but also because of the need to give secure, loving homes to vulnerable children.

But the rise of IVF surrogate parenthood is in real danger of making the acceptance of gay adoption look like a hollow success. Now I can accept that, in certain circumstances, surrogacy can be a positive option, such as a case where someone – purely out of compassion – agrees to have a baby for a close friend who is infertile and may be unable to adopt. But that is a private arrangement built on mutual trust and concern. What really sickens me is the commercial trade, which not only leads to misery and degradation among its victims but also promotes a narcissistic view of IVF children as designer products.

Sadly, this kind of artificial baby farming is now a major international business. There is no law to prevent surrogacy in Britain, but it is illegal for surrogates to advertise, as they do in the USA and elsewhere. Nor are private surrogacy agreements enforceable in the courts, which means, for example, that a surrogate mother cannot be forced to hand over the baby if she changes her mind.

But this lack of legal safeguards has not inhibited the trade. Indeed, commercial surrogacy is fast becoming the preferred route for gay couples to have children, so much so that the trend is now known as the “Gaybe” revolution. Much of the market is in the developing world, especially India, because the costs are much lower and the regulation far lighter. In the USA, the process usually costs around £65,000, but in India the charges can be as low as £15,000. That is the prime reason that India has become known as the “rent-a-womb capital of the world”, sustaining a “reproductive tourism” industry that is estimated to be worth over £300 billion and offers services through a network of around 350 clinics.

Pro-surrogacy propaganda usually portrays the surrogate mother as a white, blonde, smiling woman who is carrying a baby in order to make a childless couple happy. But the real story is far less palatable than the airbrushed, racist stereotype suggests. Mostly Asian or black, the women who provide the eggs and wombs for potential parents can suffer appallingly. As the recent Channel 4 documentary “Google Baby” revealed, they are kept in cramped conditions and are controlled to the point of being told when to eat, drink and sleep. Monitored like prisoners, they often have to refrain from sex and even riding a bicycle. Surrogates can also be required to take a string of medicines like Lupron, oestrogen and progesterone to help achieve pregnancy, all of which can have damaging side effects. In fact, the entire process of commercial IVF reproduction can have a serious impact on surrogates’ health. Studies have shown that the dangers to women include ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain, reproductive cancers, kidney disease and strokes, while women who become pregnant with eggs from another woman are at a higher risk of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure.

Remarkably, none of this seems to matter to the eager clients. I interviewed one rich gay couple for whom the oppression is part of the appeal, because they said that they found it reassuring that women are required to live in a clinic under the surveillance of the “brokers” throughout their pregnancies. In truth there is a huge streak of misogyny throughout this business, with women treated as worthless or little more than reproductive machines. As Germaine Greer said at Hay, all traditional notions of motherhood, even female identity, are being written out of the script. I was told that one gay couple had such loathing for the biological role of the mother that they even insisted that their (paid-for) baby should be born by caesarean section so it was not tainted by travelling down the vaginal canal.

Against this backdrop, it is amazing that many leading left-wing campaigners, like the Guardian columnist Owen Jones, should see commercial surrogacy as a progressive cause. But then the left often loses its moral compass on ethical sexual issues like this.   So, in the name sex workers’ rights, they demand the end of controls on prostitution and pornography, even though that would actually mean more misogynistic degradation, violence and abuse.

If radicals like Owen Jones want to support gay parenthood, they would do far more good by promoting adoption rather surrogacy. That used to be the inspiring cause of the left.  Exactly three decades ago, the Greater London Council caused a storm by circulating a book called “Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin” about a girl brought up by a gay couple.   Ultimately, the controversy led to the introduction in 1988 of the notorious Clause 28 by the Tory Government, banning local authorities from issuing material that “promoted homosexuality.” Thankfully, we have moved on from that kind of homophobia. The institutionalised barriers to gay families have been shattered.

But that does not mean we should now embrace commercial IVF surrogacy. If gay couples want children, why on earth do they have to go down this exploitative route rather than adopting a child? The answer raises a profoundly troubling question about the attitudes of too many gay and lesbian couples. Fixated by vanity, imbued with overweening self-regard, they want to create a child in their own image, meeting a checklist of ideal characteristics. This kind of narcissism reached a grotesque logical conclusion in the case of the American lesbian couple Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullogh, both deaf since birth, who made the headlines in 2002 when they embarked on a search for a congenitally deaf sperm donor. Having been turned down by a number of sperm banks, they then approached a friend who had five generations of deafness in his family and was deaf himself. He agreed to their request, and a deaf child was brought into the world.

No greater symbol of the epic selfishness of surrogacy could be found than the decision to create deliberately a child with a severe disability. But sometimes the desire for a designer baby can move in the opposite direction, descending into a form of eugenics where the couple allow no room for any perceived flaws or idiosyncrasies. That happened in the disgraceful “Baby Gammy” case last year, in which an Australian couple, David and Wendy Farnell, left a twin boy with his surrogate Thai birth mother when it was discovered that the child had Down’s Syndrome, though the Farnells took the baby’s sister Pipah with them back to Australia.

Since that scandal, Thailand has banned foreigners and same-sex couples from accessing surrogacy services. That sort of robust approach is needed elsewhere if we are to combat the nasty, self-serving commercialisation of women’s wombs and eggs. There is nothing homophobic about criticising this vile, unbalanced trade where the rich exploit the bodies of the poor and desperate. On the contrary, to do so represents a service to humanity.

Julie Bindel is a British journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher. She has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979 and has written extensively on rape, domestic violence, sexually motivated murder, prostitution and trafficking, child sexual exploitation, stalking, and the rise of religious fundamentalism and its harm to women and girls. Julie has authored over 30 book chapters and academic reports on a range of topics pertaining to gender inequality and abuse, and writes regularly for The Guardian newspaper, the New Statesman, Sunday Telegraph and Standpoint magazines, and appears regularly on the BBC and Sky News. She was Visiting Journalist at Brunel University (2013 – 2014) and is now Visiting Researcher at Lincoln University (2014 – 17). Julie’s book on the state of the lesbian and gay movement in the UK (Guardian books, 2014) has been praised for being thought-provoking and challenging.

Stop Surrogacy Now!

Marjorie Murphy Campbell

An important new campaign launched on Mother’s Day. I am a signatory to petition. Will you join us?

Stop Surrogacy Now Launched

Worldwide Coalition to End Surrogacy and the Exploitation of Women and Children

San Francisco, CA/May 11, 2015Stop Surrogacy Now launches today. Stop Surrogacy Now brings together a worldwide, ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse group opposed to the exploitation of women and the human trafficking of children through surrogacy.

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With support from 16 organizations and more than 100 individuals from 18 countries, Stop Surrogacy Nowdemands recognition that surrogacy exploits women (in many cases poor and marginalized) who are paid to bear children. Often these women are subject to coercion, restrictive or substandard living conditions, and poor health care. In addition, surrogacy carries many severe, short- and long-term health risks. Many surrogates live as indentured persons with 24 hour monitoring of the “property” within their wombs.

Stop Surrogacy Now demands recognition that children conceived for surrogacy are quality-controlled: subject to sex-selection or abandonment for disability or simple change-of-mind. Children produced through surrogacy are objects of contract as well as products of inequitable bargaining power and unregulated markets. Most often, these commercially produced children experience the sudden and complete severance of the natural bond between mother and child and are intentionally deprived of contact with and knowledge of one or both biological parents in direct violation of the U.N.’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Signatories to Stop Surrogacy Now demand a complete stop to surrogacy in order to protect women and children worldwide and to end efforts that would seek to legitimize and normalize trafficking children.

“A woman is a human being not a machine, states Shagufta Omar, President, Pakistan Chapter of the International Muslim Women Union. She continues, “Disconnecting both mother and the child from each other is the violation of the human rights of both.”

“There is no right to a child and rich people must be stopped from using a woman as a living incubator and then taking their baby away and showing it off as their own. We must prevent this reproductive slavery and stop it now”, says Dr. Renate Klein, long-time health activist and FINRRAGE (Australia) co-ordinator.

Among the 16 organizations joining the Stop Surrogacy Now campaign is CoRP, a French NGO that promotes human rights and the abolition of surrogacy as being in contradiction to international conventions such as Article 21 of the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, the so-called Oviedo Convention, which stipulates, “The human body and its parts shall not, as such, give rise to financial gain.”

Dr. Mia Fahlen of Sweden states, “I’m joining this campaign to fight surrogacy to combat the exploitation of women all over the world. The ethical, medical and psychological consequences are far greater than thus far have been recognized.”

We invite everyone to join us and add their signature in support of the Stop Surrogacy Now campaign.