Trump advocate calls surrogacy ‘evil’ and says anyone involved ‘should be imprisoned for life’

Daily Wire webshow host Michael Knowles

Daily Wire host Michael Knowles has made a Project 2025-inspired statement saying anyone involved with surrogacy should get life in prison, “at least” – appearing to hint that the death penalty should also be used.

On Friday (5 April) the right-wing commentator, who is a staunch Donald Trump advocate, used his platform to describe surrogacy as “grave, grave child abuse.” The Daily Wire is an American conservative news website and media company founded in 2015 by political pundit Ben Shapiro.

In the video clip, which was shared to X/Twitter by the Biden-Harris HQ, Knowles takes aim at surrogacy, saying: “everyone involved is gravely, gravely evil… [including] the egg donor [and] the people purchasing the child.”

Meidas Touch Network shared the clip, adding the following context: “(Knowles) consistent stance against reproductive freedom and his desire to imprison anyone who does not adhere to his extremist beliefs aligns with his broader ideology, which is a major part of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s ‘Project 2025’ plan to restrict reproductive rights nationwide if Trump were to win the 2024 election.”

Put simply, surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive. Surrogate pregnancies are a popular practice for same-sex couples who are hoping to have children, as well as an option for heterosexual couples who are experiencing fertility issues.

In recent years, right-wingers have increasingly taken aim at surrogacy, with gay men who choose the option singled out for abuse. In July 2023, a Canadian gay couple successfully sued a right-wing Italian populist party, after it used their newborn baby’s photo as part of a campaign against surrogacy for same-sex parents. 

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This follows a startling January 2024 statement by Pope Francis, in which he stated that surrogate pregnancies should be banned worldwide.

In his 45-minute speech, the Pope said: “I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs.

In 2022, the Pope also called the practice “inhumane” and argued that it was used to exploit poor women and children who were being treated as “commodities.” He also referred to it as “uterus for rent”.

Typically, criticism of surrogate pregnancies is directed towards commercial surrogacy contracts, in which the person carrying the child is paid. Commercial surrogacies are banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and parts of Europe, including Bulgaria, France, Denmark, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025, or the Presidential Transition Project, was created by The Heritage Foundation – a conservative think tank founded during the Nixon presidency – as a way to cement conservative values into the GOP.

It is, in essence, a 920-page blueprint for an electoral strategy built from far-right rhetoric: a detailed plan aimed at helping the next Republican president to use the executive branch of the federal government to attack the rights of women, LGBTQ+ people and the BIPOC community.

Project 2025 aims to do this by eliminating the agencies and offices responsible for enforcing civil rights laws and placing trained right-wing ideologues in paid positions throughout the federal government. 

Sections from Project 2025’s 180-day playbook – a list of actions they plan to take in the first 180 days if Trump takes office – include completely stripping discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people from the law.

Feminist magazine Ms say that Project 2025 was formulated by a broad coalition of over 90 conservative organizations, which they describe as “a who’s-who of groups that have led attacks on reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, gender studies, the Equal Rights Amendment and #MeToo initiatives.”

In May 2023, the Heritage Foundation’s official X/Twitter account tweeted: “Conservatives have to lead the way in restoring sex to its true purpose, & for…ending recreational sex & senseless use of birth control pills.”