Trading Babies

By Piper Bayard

I recently learned about a new fad called Maternity Tourism. That’s where wealthy women, primarily from China, travel to America at the end of their pregnancies to have their babies here, ensuring they are born American citizens. They fly here on legitimate travel visas, stay in boutique hotels that are set up with nurseries, have their American babies at American hospitals, and then, after their recovery period, they return home with their little Yanks. Click here for a short CNN video on the topic.

image from Dreamstime.com

Yep. Arrive pregnant. Leave with an American citizen.

So when I first heard about this, I thought, “Wait a minute! That is soooo not cool.”

American citizenship is a first class privilege, not a Plan B. Immigrants who come here to identify with American laws and ideals and to contribute to the well-being of this country with their time, talents, and loyalties are the people who keep our country young and vital in a changing world. But immigrants who come to take advantage of our bounty while maintaining their first identity and loyalty to other countries . . . those immigrants bleed us of our vitality without contributing any value that supersedes the harm they cause. Allowing people to illegally use us while simultaneously spitting on us is just mental. Maternity tourism, at first glance, fell into that latter category to me.

And then I gave it a second thought. . . . Hey, why not? It’s not like Americans don’t fly over there to bring home Chinese babies. Besides, these women are coming here legally. They are paying for the goods, services, and health care they receive, and they are abiding by the terms of their visas and going home with their babies. They are not using their babies as anchors to legitimize their illegal presence in America. We should be thanking them for being good and responsible tourists.

Not only that, but these new little Americans can serve our country in a unique mission. They can help us balance the trade deficit with China. . . . Think about it. The USA currently has a $270 billion trade deficit with China. That means we buy around $270 billion more clothes, machine parts, and unnecessary plastic objects from them than we sell to them.

Now, there are roughly 341 million family households in China, approximately one-fourth of its population. If each of these 341 million families has an American child growing up in China, those kids will eventually translate into 341 million American adults contributing to the functioning of Chinese society. In all fairness, the labor and money collected by American citizens on Chinese soil should apply toward balancing that trade deficit.

Our US government needs to start negotiations now to ensure that our American-Chinese citizens will receive an American standard of fair labor treatment, and at least an American federal minimum wage for their services. Consider that the children of China, for all practical purposes, can begin to work and contribute to society’s functioning as early as 3 years of age. I’m not making this up. Check Google Images with the search “Chinese Child Labor.”

But we’ll be charitable and round that up to a generous 10 years, since these are American citizens we’re talking about.

Now, let’s put this all together. If 341 million American-Chinese children begin earning $7.25 per hour, forty hours per week, 50 weeks per year, in just 10 years they will be worth, collectively, $4.945 trillion annually to the nation of China. Look at our trade deficit now! Who knows? Perhaps we will earn China’s Most Favored Nation Status.

Considering the benefit to our country from having 341 million American-Chinese children reversing the trade deficit back in our favor, we should not discourage these clever tourists from purchasing the benefits of our establishment. In fact, we should actively encourage them, and even thank them. Personally, I think these new mothers should receive a complimentary mani/pedi upon arrival in the USA—something every pregnant woman enjoys—and a baby gift in the form of a child’s pet to take home with them at their departure. . . . A pregnant Imperial Dwarf Deer.

Imperial Dwarf Deer (formerly known as a muskrat), image from Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com

What do you think of Maternity Tourism? Do you think it’s ok since these women are following our laws? Or do you think our laws should be changed? How would you change those laws? And what other appropriate baby gifts can you think of to give these folks?

All the best to all of you for finding the silver lining.