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University of Washington School of Law




Scholars and activists interested in racial justice have long been opposed to surrogacy arrangements, wherein a couple commissions a woman to become pregnant, give birth to a baby, and surrender the baby to the couple to raise as its own. Their fear has been that surrogacy arrangements will magnify racial inequalities inasmuch as wealthy white people will look to poor women of color to carry and give birth to the white babies that the couples covet. However, perhaps critical thinkers about race should reconsider their contempt for surrogacy following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor. In the decision, the Court envisions same-sex couples and the families that they head as valuable threads in the fabric of American society. Surrogacy arrangements are vehicles for same-sex couples to produce the families that Windsor celebrates. This fact may encourage opponents of surrogacy arrangements who have been concerned about the racial implications of the practice to reconsider their opposition. This Article conducts that reconsideration, ultimately concluding that while surrogacy arrangements are beneficial because they enable persons who are unprivileged by virtue of sexual orientation to have children, they may reaffirm extant racial hierarchies and exacerbate the marginalization of persons and families that are already unprivileged by virtue of race and class. However, instead of calling for a ban on surrogacy for these reasons, the Article argues that there are more desirable avenues for destabilizing racial hierarchies and undoing the marginalization of unprivileged persons and families.

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