With Thanksgiving now passed, and Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, we here at the CBC are taking stock of what we’ve done and looking forward to what’s coming in 2017 and beyond.
One thing we know without a doubt is that the work we do would be impossible without your support! We are a small but high-impact organization because of you. Please know how thankful every member of the CBC team is for your partnership with us and for your help in the successes over this past year (and years!).
As I look back over the past 16 years since I founded the CBC, I can hardly begin to tell you about all the unexpected doors that have been opened to us. Let me highlight some of our successes in documentary filmmaking, legislative efforts, and cultural engagement.
Telling stories through film has a profound and immediate effect on audiences, changing the way they think in a positive way. Our films, all produced on modest budgets, have each yielded an enormous impact. We’ve shown our films all over the world, and we’ve translated them into French, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
This month, our award-winning film Eggsploitation (Best Documentary, California Independent Film Festival) will be screened at the Silicon Valley International Film Festival, which will be held on the campuses of Google, SalesForce, and other high tech companies.
Breeders: A Subclass of Women? has been screened at the European Parliament in Brussels three times, as well as in Paris, France, positively affecting surrogacy legislation in European countries.
I was just in Madrid, Spain, to show our first documentary short film, Maggie’s Story, the story of a ten-time egg “donor” now battling Stage IV cancer.
Our newest film, Compassion and Choice: DENIED, which grapples with the Physician Assisted Suicide debate, has already been viewed by nearly 40,000 people. This film’s modest budget of $2,500 is making a huge impact. We have made this film free to view to anyone, anywhere in the world on Facebook and YouTube.
Our low budget, high impact films have screened at Yale Law, Harvard Law, Columbia Law, Dartmouth, Stanford, University of California—Berkeley, University of Virginia, Notre Dame, and many other college campuses.
Eggsploitation has also been shown on Capitol Hill, an event that was sponsored by The National Organization for Women.
Many of our films are endorsed by leading U.S. Feminists such as Patricia Ireland, Judy Norsigian, and Sonia Pressman Fuentes, co-founder of NOW.
Influencing public policy is a natural outcome of our educational work. Because of our successful films and the diverse coalitions we are able to assemble, we have played a major role in successful vetoes on surrogacy legislation in New Jersey and Louisiana (two times in each state). In California, we have twice stopped a bill that would allow women to be paid to sell their eggs to scientific researchers—once securing a veto from Governor Jerry Brown and the second time getting the bill pulled because the Governor indicated he would not sign it.
In Minnesota, where members of the legislature viewed our film on surrogacy, Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, we were able to help secure a study commission on the impact of surrogacy in the state, and we’ve provided numerous testimonies to the Minnesota legislature.
Our coalition efforts have put pressure on international bodies and on individual countries to prohibit commercial surrogacy and human egg trafficking. And we’ve seen recent victories in India, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, and Mexico that are helping to stop “trading on the female body” and the trafficking of children.
I was privileged to be invited in 2016 to speak at an open rally in Circus Maximus Rome, Italy, to nearly 1 million people.
In 2015 we launched a politically, religiously, and geographically diverse coalition to “Stop Surrogacy Now.” This coalition, which includes pro-choice feminists, leaders of the LGBTQ communities, academics, and international NGO leaders, continues to press against the global exploitation of women and children.
This #StopSurrogacyNow coalition will host a major presentation in March 2017, at the United Nations 61st Commission on the Status of Women on the theme of “Trading on the Female Body.” We will call for all member nations to work together to prohibit surrogacy, the exploitation of women and their bodies, and the trafficking and trade of children.
In January 2017, we will begin recruiting our third cohort for our Paul Ramsey Institute. This program brings together some of the very brightest young minds studying and working in the area of bioethics for interaction with and mentorship under some of the leading thinkers in bioethics over the past 40+ years. Paul Ramsey anticipated many of the ethical challenges we face today, and the Paul Ramsey Institute seeks to instill his rigorous ethical approach and extend it to the next generation of thinkers.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg of what the CBC has accomplished and a small glimpse of what we’ve planned in the New Year (my calendar is already booking with speaking engagements into June of 2017!).
We are truly a small but high-impact organization.
When we pause to reflect on these many important opportunities, we know that this would not be possible without your support.
Thank you again for your generosity and support and prayers.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you from all of us at the CBC!
This work is impossible without YOU!
Your gift now helps to ensure that we can continue building on our past work and take full advantage of the abundance of opportunities that are coming our way in 2017. Please send your most generous gift today.
The Center for Bioethics and Culture is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit educational organization. All gifts are tax-deductible.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.