by Eliette Abécassis (eliette-abecassis.com), writer and philosopher
Marie-Anne Frison-Roche (mafr.fr), University Professor of Law
The destruction of a world is done using language. Newspeak was decried by George Orwell in his novel 1984. The concept of inventing language to impose a new world order is as follows: reduce the number of words in a language, prevent citizens from thinking, in order to create a new reality to which they are now subjected. The disappearance of words in a language allows for a simplification of the world, preventing any critical idea from even coming about in the brain without the need for any order being given and quietly establishing a totalitarian society.
We can see this destruction at work in the disappearance of the word « mother » in the discourse by promoters of « surrogacy ».
In French, the acronym itself, GPA (‘gestation pour autrui’ translates to ‘gestation for others’), is a creation of the newspeak, as are the English terms « gestational carrier” or “surrogate ».
The dictionary definition of gestation (G in the acronym) is “the period of the development of a child or young animal while it is still inside its mother’s body”. A word has now disappeared from the vocabulary, a word that was more suitable than « gestation » to describe the reality of the pregnant woman: « pregnancy ». It was easier to substitute » Pregnancy » (for women) for » Gestation » (for animals), thus reducing women to a pure animal state.
In “surrogacy” [for « others »] (the PA part of the French language acronym), the redundant terms (« for » + « others ») imply donation and gratuity when it is, in fact, a market transaction between buyers and traders (agencies and clinics, consultants of all kinds) who design and execute a contract in which the purchase and sale of a baby is negotiated through the rental of the mother’s uterus.
The terms « gestational carrier” and “surrogacy » therefore have no meaning: they are only corresponding to a subterfuge of reality.
The terms « surrogate mother » and “gestational carrier » are purposely crafted pleonasms since a mother is always a carrier: the terms imply that there would be « surrogate mothers » and « noncarrier mothers ». But these mothers bearing children are those who gave birth to them, so they are mothers. Thus, why add « carriers » or “surrogates”?
Why? Because, through a language game, by putting two words, « mother » and « carrier », she became « divisible », then « erasable ». Indeed, sometime later, it would be enough to simply call her… »carrier » or “surrogate” as is commonly used in English.
Ironically, it is the lexicon of ethics that will be charged with breaking this unity between carrying/surrogacy and motherhood. Thus, articles, conferences, and even debates are now organized and placed on the « bioethics » agenda, under the theme of « surrogacy/carrying the child of another ». This is placed in the title and then proposed for discussion as an unquestioned reality, wondering for example whether « carrying the child” would be an act of « enslavement » or an act of « solidarity » between fertility and infertility.
The question has been displaced.
Through this displacement of the argument (is it good? is it bad?), the newspeak discourse transformed the world, presenting the surrogate as a person who is no longer the child’s mother but this secondary character, the « carrier » of the child. Victory, the mother is no longer since the word has disappeared: she is a « surrogate ».
However, let us remember that the mother is the one who bears the child and gives birth. It matters not her « intention » or another person’s wanting to have a child. As well, in the French Civil Code, a woman who gives birth under X and therefore does not « intend to be a mother » is still defined by law as the « mother ». Because she is.
The proponents of this practice, which we are gently called upon to label “surrogate motherhood”, know that by winning the language battle they will win the legal battle. Laws are meant to be repealed. To do this, we must first use the language of ethics. The Civil Code’s discrepancy thereby reveals its obsolescence: we call for modernity.
Certainly, scientists will then point out that the woman who carries the child remains the mother biologically because for nine months she exchanges with the child so much information and cells that they have an unbreakable bond of filiation.
But newspeak’s effective reduction of the world continues.
Since ethical discussions would now solely focus on the fate of « surrogates » who lost their status as mothers, it would be necessary to ensure that this « deliverance » of the child between the « bearer » and those who are waiting for the child is no longer achieved by « enslaving » the « bearer », that she receives her financial share of the transaction, that it is monitored and that she has rights. This to demonstrate « ethical concern ». Not only is the debate displaced, but it is organized in such a way that everyone takes « the right path ».
The reduction of the world by language has made it possible to sidestep any criticism and leads to everyone sticking to their silo. The only space left for the Law by this is: the law allowed in this « language corridor » must be « ethical », i.e. it must ensure that the surrogate is not a « slave »; thus the « ethical » law will force women to express their concern for barren couples by showing their generosity.
The word is unleashed: women, since they are no longer mothers, have a duty to « give ». Since she can only give what she bears, the woman will have to sign a contract, which will protest that she is not giving her child since it is not hers, but that she is « gifting her gestation », the law simply having as its function to ensure that the surrogacy is « ethical », that the « surrogate » receives money, but not too much, that she makes a « magnificent gift », in short, that surrogacy is a bond of love.
Those who would say otherwise would be against love or would be in favour of slavery. The result of the language game is: “altruistic, ethical, and solidary surrogacy ».
This is how women are sold and delivered to the market with their babies.
The newspeak, upheld by ethics and law, thereby helps establish the global market of women and children, with capitalists demanding « generous » and « supportive » poor women to « consent » to it for a » stipend », to manufacture the child without the mother, born only of the desire to be their « parents », holders of intent, a desire transformed into a « right to parenthood » by organisations that build with words the market of the inhumane.
All of this is possible because the word « mother » has disappeared. The mother no longer exists, she was offed by language. It is up to us to put words on this thing: the buying and selling of babies over the Internet, uterus rental contracts organised by global organisations masking the frightening reality which is now ours: our newspeak creates a world that sells and buys women and babies, and no longer recognizes a mother to her child.
*This article has previously been published in France on the HuffPost
(October 2nd, 2016) under “Les mots pour ne pas le dire” in reference to the book “Les mots pour le dire” by Marie Cardinal.