I already wrote a short column on the announcement of podcaster Dave Rubin that he and his partner were becoming fathers by renting the wombs of surrogates to gestate children conceived with an egg donor, and the wave of conservative congratulations that came in response. I pointed out that motherless children are always a tragedy, and that to create them intentionally is both evil and heartbreaking. But I missed an uglier aspect of Dave Rubin’s adoption journey. From Bethel McGrew in National Review, who notes that Rubin’s new pro-natal message sounds good until you read a bit further:
It’s a touching pro-natal message. That is, until you read the section on abortion in Rubin’s book, where he reveals that he and his family had collectively decided they would “terminate the pregnancy” if they discovered a severe disability. This immediately follows a paragraph affirming abortion as a “right of women.” Significantly, in all the talk of how heavy and “difficult” it would be for Rubin to abort his hypothetical disabled child, there is no mention of how the invisible woman carrying this child might feel, or how she, too, might “wrestle with the consequences” for years to come.
This particular house of ethical horrors may be avoided by gay couples who choose the adoption route instead — as, indeed, Pete and Chasten Buttigieg did. But their dual-hospital-bed pose still symbolized the inevitable female erasure of all such family units. This still, rightly, makes people uncomfortable. As I gauged reactions after Rubin’s announcement, many said that while the lab baby/surrogacy angle was the most disturbing element for them, their concerns wouldn’t vanish if that element were removed. The maternal void would remain.
Dave Rubin is not an ally. He is a man who would ask a woman whose womb he rented to have the child she was carrying–that he had purchased–suctioned out of her, or dismembered, because the child was disabled. In fact, Rubin thinks this lethal ableism is so uncontroversial that he wrote about it in his book. We should not ignore this. It is public advocacy of not only surrogacy and the commodifying of children, but the killing of “imperfect” children.