Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I'm reading Alice Walker's latest essay collection, "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For." One concept in particular has stuck with me:

"I believe there should be a moratorium on the birth of children. That not one more child should be born on this planet until certain conditions are met."

The short version of her conditions being that we can manage the well-being of those children, of the children (including us adults) already here, and of the many other life forms inhabiting this planet, a life form of its own.

Jarring, in that context, to learn about researchers preparing for the first uterus transplant, so that infertile women can experience childbirth. The uteri (?) would come from corpses, and would be removed again after childbirth to avoid the need for lifelong antirejection drugs.

How much money has been funneled into this little experiment? How many existing children could it have supported?

Millions are going unfed and unloved while we waste precious and finite resources at an ever-escalating rate. A weak (under)estimate is that 6.5 billion of us (and growing) are currently walking the earth, beating it down and heating it up and sucking it dry.

Amid world crises of hunger, drought and deadly conflict, we choose to spend billions playing with unnecessary research, from uterus transplants to space exploration; on ever-record-breaking salaries and bonuses for CEOs of sinking ships; on megalomaniacal interjections that kill plenty (34,000 in Iraq last year alone, the U.N. says) but hardly enough to balance the globe's ever-burgeoning population. We spend billions on foreign wars and foreign oil, yet refuse to drop our relative pocket change in the bucket of family planning organizations that could help stanch the world's hemmoragghing growth rate.

I'm not a mother. Biologically, the odds (physical and preferential) are great that I never will be. So I come from a different mindset than that of the majority.

However, I cannot for the life of me comprehend why a woman would rather take in a dead sister's uterus, at great physical and financial cost, to bear a child of her "own," when she could instead bear joyous responsibility for what we, collectively, have already conceived.


My frustrating, self-imposed censorship on writing about anything of real importance in this world is already disintegrating. How long will I hold out? Place your bets …


Anonymous said...

And that is why I am such an advocate of adoption.


Lincoln Writer said...

amen, sister!

Also: Damn, you're fast!

Nealy Gihan said...

Ha ha. And the book ends with George leaving, so we never know if he becomes grotesque or not.

I actually have to write one for class next week. I knew I'd be inspired just sitting in the cafe at work today. It totally worked.

Well, I'm off to daydreaming now.


Anna Jo said...

Isn't it odd -- spending years constantly working on NOT getting pregnant -- to consider going to such lengths to do so?