The linked article discusses surrogacy and whether surrogacy works toward our “common good.” Written by Matthew Eppinette, it is an important read. I think so many of our ethical debates come down to this idea of individualism vs the common good. More to it, I think that so many people are tied to the idea of getting what we want because we see only our unique situation…we see the need for our individualism to be advanced. And while there are strains of a “team mindset,” we have largely organized our society to ensure maximum individual happiness resulting in a stance that either ignores the common good or relegates it under the argument that if I am made happy and I don’t appear to be “hurting” anyone (this statement having little real definition) then I get what I want AND it IS good for society. In the case of abortion, for example, an argument along this line is as follows, I am not “hurting” anyone because a fetus is simply less human than a more biologically developed one…
In this article, Eppinette focuses on the idea that surrogate motherhood tears relationships. He begins by analyzing a recent HuffPost article titled, “I Chose To Be A Surrogate Mother. I Didn’t Know It Would Break My Heart.” In that article, the author Lindsay, discusses the way surrogacy changed the way she loved – how she became more guarded and ultimately, how, for so many years after her surrogate pregnancies she carried feelings of deep, deep loss.
Eppinette then draws back from the personal case to look at the larger ethical picture which is on display.
Asking how or whether surrogate motherhood serves our shared human future raises questions of what it means to be human and what human relationships are for. What kind of people do we want to be? What meaning is there to procreation, to childhood, to parenthood? How does surrogacy support and nurture human relationships? How does it enhance childhood?
We have to look to the common good as the primary goal of society. This is basic catholic social teaching and it is true and good: “the human person cannot find fulfillment in himself, that is, apart from the fact that he exists with others and for others.” (The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church). Sometimes that may mean that what we want, our individualism, does not hold the upper hand in determining the good of society.