Baby M Essay, Research Paper
Jerry Springer: Baby M and the Trobrianders
The following is a recording of Jerry Springer?s talk show on his visit to the Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. His show is known for its appearance of scandals and Jerry finds it most fitting to bring the Baby M Case to Trobrianders for comments and inputs.
Jerry: Good evening, everyone and welcome to our show. Tonight we bring to you our special guests, one of whom is Mrs. Whitehead who is the paid surrogate mother to the Sterns? Baby M. She has recently given birth to Baby M and found that she could not meet with the surrogacy contract and give up her baby because she has developed an attachment for Baby M. Tonight Mrs. Whitehead is here to confront the Sterns with her decision in keeping the baby. Please give a warm welcome for Mrs. Whitehead!
Jerry: Mrs. Whitehead, welcome to our show. How are you today?
Mrs. Whitehead: I?m fine, thank you Jerry.
Jerry: Mrs. Whitehead, the story is that the Sterns paid you ten thousand dollars for you to carry Mr. Stern?s baby through artificial insemination; but through the nine months of
carrying the baby, you develop a bond with the baby and cannot find yourself to part with the baby. Right? What?s the story here? Tell us.
Mrs. Whitehead: Well, Jerry. My family and I were going through some difficult times financially and the surrogacy clinic seems like an excellent solution to our problems. And so, I went and took some tests at the clinic and pass the tests to become a surrogate mother. Mr. Stern is not the first case I?ve accepted but he was the first successful artificially inseminated father of my baby. I was to have Mr. Stern?s baby through artificial insemination, deliver the baby, and take necessary procedures to terminate my maternal rights so that Mrs. Stern could adopt the baby afterwards. In return, the Sterns would pay me ten thousand dollars for keeping my part with the contract. But you know what Jerry? I can?t leave her. I can?t leave my baby. She and I share a special bond.
Jerry: Was there anything besides money that prompted you to accept the offer?
Mrs. Whitehead: Yes, Jerry. I truly sympathized with those who could not have children. I wanted to give others the gift of life.
Jerry: When you were going to go through with this, did you consider the possibility that you might want to keep your baby later on?
Mrs. Whitehead: No, not at all. But the moment I carried her, I knew I could not part with her. I?m here tonight to tell the Sterns that my baby stays with me and the contract is void.
Audience: [Applause] Whooooaaaa!
Jerry: Please give a warm welcome for Mr. Stern.
Jerry: Do you know this woman?
Mr. Stern: Yes. She is my baby?s surrogate mother.
Jerry: Do you have something to tell him, Mrs. Whitehead?
Mrs. Whitehead: Well, Mr. Stern. It?s like this. I know you only let the baby stay with me for a couple of days because I was quite traumatized to be away from it and I have kept it for months now. But being with my baby again only makes me more determined than ever to keep it, so I?m here tonight to tell you that I?m keeping the baby.
Mr. Stern: You?re what?!!
Mrs. Whitehead: My daughter is gone with my husband. You won?t be able to find her.
Mr. Stern: She?s gone where??!!! Oh my God! I can?t believe you?re doing this. To think, I felt terrible for separating you from her so soon. I trusted you! Is that why you got me here? So that your husband can steal my daughter while I?m in another country?
Mrs. Whitehead: No, I wanted you to come Papua New Guinea so that you could be more sympathetic toward my cause. I had hoped that after learning of the Trobrianders? belief in procreation, you would feel that it would only be right for my daughter to be with me.
Mr. Stern: Oh, no. My daughter stays with me.
Jerry: [Addressing Mr. Stern] What are you going to do?
Mr. Stern: I?m going to go home and fight for my daughter?s custody. If I have to fight every court in the United States, I will. The baby is rightfully mine.
Jerry: From what I understand, your wife Mrs. Stern is infertile?
Mr. Stern: My wife is suffering from certain health problems and pregnancy may cause serious health risks.
Jerry: And you?ve obviously wanted to have a family of your own, otherwise you wouldn?t have gone through with this.
Mr. Stern: Yes, my whole family was killed in the Holocaust and I didn?t want my bloodline to die with me.
Jerry: Did you consider adoption?
Mr. Stern: Actually, our first choice was adoption, but with the delays and our age we decided upon surrogacy through ICNY.
Jerry: And your wife is to have complete custody of Baby M in the event of your death?
Mr. Stern: Yes.
Audience 1: Jerry, this is addressed to Mr. Stern. First of all, I would like to say that the baby is not yours, Mr. Stern. The waiwaia spirit impregnated Mrs. Whitehead, not you. I don?t care what the clinic told you but Baby M belongs to Mrs. Whitehead?s bloodline. I can understand your anger in this situation but your anger is directed toward the wrong party. You are robbed but not robbed of your child but of your money. The clinic cheated you of your money. If I were you, I?d go back to the United States and sued this ICNY for swindling.
Mr. Stern: You don?t know what you?re talking about. It?s my child.
Audience 2: I have one advice for you, Mr. Stern. If you want a family, take your wife bathing in the sea. That is where she will most likely meet the waiwaia spirit and become
pregnant. As for continuing your bloodline, the notion is ridiculous. That?s your sister?s job, not yours.
Audience 3: Mr. Stern, from what I understand you have no sexual intercourse with Mrs. Whitehead. Therefore, the child cannot be yours. She is Mrs. Whitehead?s and her husband?s. Mrs. Whitehead and the waiwaia spirit from her matrilineage created the fetus and this fetus blossomed when her husband nurtured it through their sexual intercourse. I don?t understand how this baby is yours. I don?t think any court of law will grant you custody of Baby M.
Audience 4: What do you hope to do by bringing Mrs. Whitehead to the court of law, Mr. Stern? As far as I?m concern, there are no charges besides the charges of a desperate man who tries to kidnap a woman of her child. If any court of law grants you custody, I will be the first to fight this court because this court is not natural. It does not comply with the procreation of mingling the waiwaia spirit and the woman?s blood. Anything that deviates from this belief is ruled by sorcery.
Audience 5: This is addressed to Mrs. Whitehead. Mrs. Whitehead, do you consider letting Mr. Stern adopt your child if he so much wants to be a father? That way, Mr. Stern can be a father and you can still be with your daughter. I myself am an adopted child. I stay with my adopted parents and learn their skills in magic spells and occasionally visit my real parents. It works both ways. My adopted parents have a child and my real parents also have my attention. Since you already have other children, sacrificing a little part of your new daughter won?t hurt much.
Mrs. Whitehead: You don?t understand. Once I give up my child for adoption, I give up all of my visitations and hers.
Audience 6: You?re right, I don?t understand at all. One does not sell one?s child for ten thousand dollars. Why do put so much value in a piece of paper? There is no use for money except maybe for firewood. Even to this point, I still don?t understand the use of money of buying tobacco and fish, let alone a child.
Audience 7: Mrs. Whitehead, if the court of law won?t let you keep your daughter, you just move right over here with us. We do not let anyone take a child from its rightful parents.
Afterthought from Jerry Springer
Jerry: For many centuries, procreation has been a touchy subject. Depending on your culture, you may hold very different beliefs on the lineage of your children. The Trobrianders believe that their children come from their matrilineage and the fathers have no hands in creating a fetus. However, that belief does not take away the importance of fathers, for they nurture the fetus until birth and give their children social status. It is not up to the male to continue the bloodline but the female to continue the matrilineage. The male?s duty is to provide for the matrilineage. If it were up the Trobrianders to decide, they would probably rule in favor of Mrs. Whitehead, but this case is to be settled in the United States and the results are to be seen. Until next time, take care of yourself and each other.