Competing Frames of Surrogacy: Comparing Newspapers’ Coverage of “Horror Stories”

Susan Markens

in Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520252035
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940970 | DOI:
Competing Frames of Surrogacy: Comparing Newspapers’ Coverage of “Horror Stories”

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Dramatic events are ones that are most likely to attract the public's imagination and create strong reactions to a given social problem. Media coverage of surrogate parenting, especially the horror stories that focus on custodial disputes over surrogate-born children, considered and reinforced anxieties over the future of motherhood and the family in an era of rapidly changing beliefs about women's roles and the decline of the normative nuclear family. Surrogacy stories involving biological and racial themes seemed to attract the public. Between 1986 and 1992, the period of peak newspaper coverage on surrogate motherhood, horror stories constituted 71 percent of the articles about surrogacy in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and 62 percent of the stories covered in the Washington Post.

Keywords: media; newspapers; motherhood; Los Angeles Times; New York Times

Chapter.  14574 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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