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Thursday, January 03, 2008

World: Outsourcing

This needs to stop now. Nations need to quit with this "free trade agreement" bullshit. The economists tell us that free trade is a rising tide that lifts all boats, but since they came into existence over a decade ago, what FTAs have done is sacrificed quality for cost savings.

Thanks to the "global" economy, corporations are free to move jobs to wherever they can get them done for less, and if that means slave labour, prison labour, child labour, that's just fine with them. What it leaves behind are national economies stripped of any concept of rights for working people, as well as consumers, as amply demonstrated by the "toxic toys" scares of 2007.

We here at this fine establishment had predicted way back in the 1980s that this outsourcing of labour would not stop until something really egregious occurred.

Well, it has. The Boston Globe reports that pregnancies are now being outsourced to India.

How low can we sink as a species? How far can we go? Already we are mining the bodies of the poor for their healthy organs to replace our own diseased ones. Is your life worth killing someone else for? Is mine?

And we're getting our organ "donors" in the third world, where people have limited access to medical care and the sterile conditions that are required for organ donation (major surgery). Where people are killed for relatively minor offenses and their organs harvested and sold by brokers before the bodies have even stopped twitching.

It was bad enough when the sudden rush to adopt third-world babies happened. Yes, adopting is better than procreating in a world staggering under the needs of 6.x billion human beings. Yes, you are saving one or more lives. Yes, it is more virtuous to give to those who need rather than bring forth yet another mini-me, especially if your genes are not the prime in the pool.

But for the love o'sufferin' Shiva, people! We've gone beyond mere wholesale plunder of other people's children into RentAWomb territory here. And what next? Every pregnancy takes a toll on a woman's body, and a woman can take up to two or more years to recover from each. Is $4K sufficient compensation for the prolapsed uteri or vaginal tears, the inevitable postpartum blues or saggy boobs, the leaching of calcium from the bones, the collapsed pelvic walls?

These are not rich women with personal trainers or time to do Kegels. They don't even have access to adequate nutrition, or they wouldn't be selling their bodies in this fashion. What's even more obscene, the organ recipients can at least justify the damage they do by buying parts of someone else's body, because very often the choice is buy or die.

People who are outsourcing pregnancies can offer no such justification. Humans are not obligate reproducers. We do not die if we cannot reproduce, unlike ferrets.

What next, do we keep farming out pregnancies to poorer and poorer nations disregarding all safety costs? After all, the service providers must make their profit, and no one wants to pay top dollar when they can get the same service for less, yes?
Health experts expect to see more Indian commercial surrogacy programs in coming years. Dr. Indira Hinduja, a prominent fertility specialist who was behind India's first test-tube baby two decades ago, receives several surrogacy inquiries a month from couples overseas.

"People are accepting it," said Hinduja. "Earlier they used to be ashamed but now they are becoming more broadminded."

But if commercial surrogacy keeps growing, some fear it could change from a medical necessity for infertile women to a convenience for the rich.

"You can picture the wealthy couples of the West deciding that pregnancy is just not worth the trouble anymore and the whole industry will be farmed out," said Lantos.

Or, Lantos said, competition among clinics could lead to compromised safety measures and "the clinic across the street offers it for 20 percent less and one in Bangladesh undercuts that and pretty soon conditions get bad."

The industry is not regulated by the government. Health officials have issued nonbinding ethical guidelines and called for legislation to protect the surrogates and the children.
Quotes from the Boston Globe's article referenced preceding.

Humanity disgusts me, sometimes.

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