The phenomenon of anchor babies merits a Wikipedia page: “a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country that has birthright citizenship which will therefore help the mother and other family members gain legal residency.” The term itself is hateful, according to the New York Times, and therefore used by haters such as Donald Trump (a 2015 article). Whatever these new U.S. citizens are called, it is popularly believed that the pregnant mom has to travel to the U.S., thus limiting production.
Would it be possible to produce an anchor baby remotely? The answer turns out to be “yes”.
While chatting recently with a European friend, I learned that many of the things that we cherish are illegal in Europe. Abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, for example, is generally illegal in Germany. Surrogacy is illegal almost everywhere in Europe, but it is not illegal to write a check to the U.S. industrial-reproductive complex and produce a baby via surrogacy here in the U.S. The resulting birthright U.S. citizen will have European genetic parents and be entitled to a U.S. passport.
A combination of a 19th century rule regarding former slaves and 21st century reproductive technology!
Related (mostly showing that I am late to learn about this!):
- Payment for surrogate mothers: “Per month of pregnancy the surrogate mother is receiving about $2800. … the woman who seeks to get paid for having an abortion gets paid at least $83,333 per month of pregnancy, 30X as much as the woman who gets paid for having a baby.” (the post is from 2014, so it doesn’t highlight that men are just as likely to get pregnant as women.
- “Whoa, Baby! Why American Surrogates Are in Demand for Chinese Families” (Hollywood Reporter 2016): Of course, any baby born via surrogate in the U.S. has birthright citizenship. “The Chinese couples really like that because a lot of them want to come back and forth,” says Molly O’Brien, a fertility lawyer with offices in Torrance who frequently travels to China to participate in information sessions for would-be parents, often sponsored by doctors offices or assisted-reproduction agencies. “Maybe they eventually want that child to be able to go to college here.”
- “Coming to U.S. for Baby, and Womb to Carry It” (NYT, 2014): “… the situation is quite different in Portugal — as it is in most of the world where the hiring of a woman to carry a child is forbidden.” (Note the hurtful assumption, in which a prospective pregnant person is presumed to identify as a “woman”)
- “Made in America” (The New Republic, 2017): “For years, we’ve looked to China for cheap labor. Now Chinese couples are coming to the U.S. for a new form of outsourcing: hiring American women to produce babies.” (Note the hateful language, in which pregnant people are referred to as “women”)