To Have And To Hold: The Surrogacy Ethics of Rumpelstiltskin

Vogue Magazine: Despite the legal and ethical complexities that surround it, surrogacy is on the rise in Britain

Sep 30, 2017
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The story of Rumpelstiltskin is one of the better known children’s tales penned by the Brothers Grimm.  A poor miller tries to ingratiate himself to a king, a figure of wealth and power, by boasting that his daughter can do the impossible, namely to spin straw into gold.

The king in his greed entertains the idea of creating wealth without any labour adding value.

The poor miller’s daughter is in an impossible situation.

Yet she is helped in her labor by a little fairy named Rumpelstiltskin, who magically appears, spins straw into gold, and allows the lie to persist. The lies can only persist at the inflationary cost of more and more straw.

In the end, the lie can only be maintained at the cost of a devils’ bargain: the daughter, who will marry the king, must agree to give up her first-born child to the greedy propagandist.

This odd little fairy tale seems to have developed a contemporary equivalent in the practice of commercial surrogacy.

The lie that the unborn are not children and can be medically terminated as an expression of a devotion to the cause of “women’s health” has left the affluent West with an aging population and a demographic winter on the horizon.

The UN’s Declaration on the Rights of the Child are being replaced in the public’s mind by its own lust.  We could describe it as a sense of a right to a child.

The relentless propaganda that has deceived people into regarding their own bodies (and those of others) as commodities, and the unborn as property, is unsurprisingly making slave owning rights a cause celebre.  The celebrities are making it so.

The moral atrocity remains, however ‘altruistic’ the public relations for the rich and the powerful present the practice.

The ethics of Rumpelstiltskin remain a horror in real life.

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