I wrote a FEE piece responding to Abigail Hall’s argument for allowing cash payments in the adoption market, and I tackle Gene Callahan’s objection. An excerpt:
Right now, some human beings have the legal status of parenthood vis-à-vis other human beings. Right now, it is perfectly legal to transfer that status to another willing party. Right now, it is even legal to accept financial compensation to effect such a transfer, so long as it is limited to the expenses of undergoing a healthy pregnancy and birth. Right now, it is also common for adoptive parents to pay tens of thousands of dollars to private-sector brokers and government bureaucrats to facilitate all of the above.
The only thing right now that is illegal is to make a pure side payment (i.e., not tied to out-of-pocket expenses) to the party giving up the parenthood. This is the point on which the critics put all of their moral weight, arguing that it is here that “slavery” begins.