What a rough year 2020 is proving to be! It is a contentious election year during the global Coronavirus pandemic. The long-term economic fallout will not be seen for years as businesses scramble to keep afloat and people try to eke out a living. Depression, suicide, and domestic violence are soaring as it is just not in our human nature to be locked down and isolated. One of my daughters had to have emergency surgery and another broke her leg. With the new Covid rules in hospitals, this meant that we were not able to be in person with them until they were discharged. As their mother, this was extremely difficult!
Things seem even more bleak for those of us doing non-profit work as foundations send out notices that they will be pulling back on grant-making, and many of our donors have been put in a financially precarious position.
But, the good Lord willing, our work continues as we tighten our belt and keep pushing forward; tackling the news of baby trafficking out of Russia, of surrogates left in legal/stateless limbo in the U.S. and abroad, and working on our next film with two female filmmakers in Italy. We have applied for funding for this film from sources in Italy and the Sundance Film Institute, which Robert Redford established to help independent filmmakers.
We are also working on an especially important project that we need to keep under wraps for now, but I look forward to telling you about that soon!
Our Paul Ramsey Institute Fellows will gather this month with our Scholars via Zoom as travel is still hindered by Covid-19, but we are planning to have our January 2021 meeting, along with our Perspectives in Bioethics Seminar, in person. Fresh publicity about this gathering, open to the public, is forthcoming.
By the time you read this, we will have hosted our sold out webinar: “A Global Conversation on Surrogacy: Why an International Solution is Needed to Protect Human Rights”, that will be live and recorded for those who have missed it. Our guests will be Kajsa Ekis Ekman, author of “Being and Being Bought – Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self” and Gary Powell, our European Special Consultant.
Twitter has been extremely hard on me these past few months, with someone posting a fake account with my name and my photos – they have even used my wedding photo! Of course, this has been reported, but, in the meantime, they attack my “anti-surrogacy views as attempting to control women and be against gay men forming families” and claiming CBC is involved in “hate-group” activism.
Why do we continue? Why do we do the work we do? Trust me, during these difficult months, I have asked myself this a lot. I keep coming back to the view that we have been called to this hard and unpopular work, and if we as a culture and a society can’t figure out what is the purpose of our human bodies, how are we to use or not use our bodies, and how children come into the world, the foundations of human civilization will crumble.
Can we count on your support during these challenging times? We would be grateful to know you are with us.
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- 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.