New Criticals

3. What does the idea of “capitalist nature” mean for the feminist critique of the expropriation of women’s bodies and reproductive capacities? Women’s reproductive labor has of course never taken place outside of capitalism understood as a comprehensive social order, but traditionally it has largely taken place outside the circuits of capitalist valorization. It seems clear that today it is meshed in them in new, insidious, and complex ways.

Commercial surrogate pregnancy is a fast growing aspect of “medical tourism” today and several countries in the global South such as India, Thailand and Mexico have become transnational hubs for such reproductive tourism. Contract pregnancies became a 445 million dollar business in India in 2006, for example, and the Indian government’s concerted efforts to actively promote medical tourism have resulted in thirty percent annual growth rate (Bailey 2011, 717). American and European infertile couples wishing to have a child are increasingly traveling there because commercial surrogacy is legal, virtually unregulated, and readily available for a fraction of what it costs in the United States, for example. Wealthy and middle class Western couples can engage a surrogate to carry and give birth to their child under highly monitored and regulated conditions in a private clinic.