Sacred Bond

Phyllis Chesler, Author, Phyllis Chesler, Introduction by
Phyllis Chesler, Author, Phyllis Chesler, Introduction by Crown Publishers $16.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-8129-1745-1
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Chesler (Women and Madness, etc.) here emotionally addresses grave questions arising from the widely publicized struggle for custody of Baby M. Mary Beth Whitehead agreed to bear the child, in 1985, as a surrogate mother for Betsy and William Stern, but refused to give up the baby, thus precipitating lawsuits and national debate over parental rights. The author, a psychotherapist and feminist who publicly spoke in favor of Whitehead and organized a campaign against surrogacy, describes her involvement and the support of women's-rights activists in a book that is, unfortunately, so intemperate as to dilute the vital issues raised. She describes the women who attended the birth mother's trial as ``blood-thirsty, pro-male, pro-middle class,'' Whitehead as ``condemned and tormented'' like a ``character in a soap opera.'' Much relevance is buried under Chesler's vehement accusations against a woman-hating society that regards a surrogate as a ``womb for hire.'' Nevertheless, the book serves to alert the public to the moral and social considerations of surrogacy. Appended are court briefs, verdicts and the Stern/Whitehead parenting contract. First serial to Ms. (June)
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