Ireland. June 2024. The surrogacy Bill passed

Empty Chambers, Full Force: Surrogacy Bill Passes Under Irish Radar

Press release 20 june 2024

We, the International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood (ICASM), as feminist defenders of women’s, children’s, and human rights, consider that the Irish Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, as voted, is incompatible with European ideals of human dignity and the rights of women and children.

The  Bill, dealing with domestic and international surrogacy, which passed the Dáil without a single vote, was rushed through the Seanad during a session with only a few senators present, seemingly to avoid public scrutiny[i]. It occurs to us that this Bill shouldn’t have been rushed, due to its international implications. The Bill aims to further the normalisation of the international surrogacy market. Its approval doesn’t only affect Ireland, as a sole country but also all the countries called upon to supply children to Irish commissioners.

Coming just three years after a government apology for forced adoption from “Mother-and-baby-homes”, it ignores key international instruments that define surrogacy as the sale of children (Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption). Also, it overlooks the fact that surrogacy is inherently commercial: the whole process, whether altruistic or not, is organised on a commercial basis. It is not a health-related practice and to promote it as a solution to infertility or the inability to have children is a fallacy.

We criticise the “my body, my choice” reasoning embedded in the adopted Billl. Senators in favour of the Bill praise agency and bodily autonomy. However, they ignore that surrogacy is a market and an exploitation of women’s reproductive capacity. Surrogacy is “my body, the commissioner’s choice”.

The priority of this legislation is to serve the needs and wishes of the commissioners. It fails to express concern for the surrogate mother, particularly the significant health risks she is exposed to, often unknowingly.

Regarding the surrogate’s right to abortion, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stated that ‘the surrogate has the same rights as any other woman during her pregnancy’. This statement fails to recognise how complicated surrogacy pregnancies are. No, a  surrogate does not have the same rights as any other expectant mother because she has ‘clients’ to appease and a contract to fulfil.

The bill expresses a commitment to protecting all parties involved in the contract, but it lacks concrete measures to achieve this goal, as the issue of protecting the parties is left to a single regulatory authority. We know from experience that this type of regulatory body is subject to strong pressure from the market and surrogacy promoters. Seemingly, in Greece, the safeguards initially provided for in the original law have been gradually dismantled in favour of an increasingly commercial practice.

Surrogacy does not promote women’s rights. It reinforces the idea that a special class of women can be used as breeders for others and that children are manufactured products.

N.B. An intense campaign of opposition to this bill has strongly involved our members : Stop Surrogacy Now UK, Surrogacy Concern (UK), Radicailin (Ireland), but also other Irish organisations that we are very happy to have met: Not all gay, The Countess, Women’s space



International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood – -Feminist and human rights organization

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Facebook:"> @surrogacy.abolition – Twitter: @@CIAMS_Coalition – Instagram: ciasm-icasm



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