Guest post by Elaine Petty, CBC Board

Three weeks ago I accompanied Jennifer Lahl to the University of Virginia to show Anonymous Father’s Day at the law school. As a board member of CBC, I was very interested to see firsthand how the movie would be received by these law students. We were joined by Kathleen Sloan, who serves on the board of NOW and is a consultant to the CBC.

The invitation for the screening had been extended by several groups of law students that represented various political and religious points of view. I wondered if their experience in law school had prepared them to understand the legal ramifications of families using donors to build their families. Or would they perhaps have a personal response because they are in the age group of many of the egg and sperm donors and the surrogates? Would they have concerns about the social implications for families built by anonymous donor parents and the resulting impact on the child conceived through these means?

The audience was comprised of more than forty students who showed up full of anticipation. They engaged from the opening of the film as they spontaneously laughed, groaned, and commented at appropriate times throughout the film.

The Q & A time especially revealed the level of interest by the insightful questions asked. As Jennifer and Kathy responded, they presented a powerful shared voice as they explained that, although they disagree on some issues, they strongly agree on their concern about the exploitation of women, the difficulties of donor anonymity on the children who are conceived, and how the lack of regulations has led to the commodification of women and the children.

Jennifer and Kathy also reversed the challenge by telling the students that they are the ones who will be dealing with these legal cases, which have many nuances, and where the human impact needs to be considered as we commodify women and children and before we create a new class of women who are breeders.

The evening ended on a note of thoughtful reflection and conversations spilling out into the hallway as the official event came to a close. I believe the students heard the question “What kind of culture and society do we want to have?” Hopefully they will answer this and integrate it into their personal and legal reasoning as they move into their professional lives.