May 2020. Surrogacy news around the world

Ukraine, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Canada, Cambodia, the news on surrogacy is very rich in this period of pandemic

The baby scandal in Ukraine is a further proof that surrogacy is similar to child trafficking. As we have written: “Commercial surrogacy is the sale of children, according to the UN definition: a child is given for money. Children, like all human beings, have the right to be protected, first from the market. Surrogacy is a market. Is it in the best interests of the child to leave these new-borns in the hands of the industry? ». It is urgent that we even more mobilise in favour of the abolition of surrogacy, as more and more voices are advocating the regulation of this market in order to better stifle its inhumanity.

Most European countries (France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Sweden) reaffirmed in 2020, in one way or another, their abolitionist position on surrogacy. It is hoped that these countries will unite to create a dynamic common force in favour of the abolition of surrogacy in European bodies and, especially, at the Hague Conference. Unfortunately, they often only take a defensive stance.

Ukraine: GPA turns out to be just child trafficking

Feminist Campaign

Since the beginning of the pandemic, feminist initiatives in Spain have alerted public authorities and international organizations to the scandal of these babies born by GPA in Ukraine, but also everywhere where surrogacy is possible. In Italy, a dozen associations called their ambassador in Ukraine while, as the International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood, we called on the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Official reactions

Since then, Ukrainian child rights advocate Mykola Kuleba has been speaking the truth, stating that surrogacy in Ukraine violates children’s rights and that Commercialization and permission to receive such a ‘service’ in Ukraine promote the uncontrolled sale of Ukrainian children abroad […]. He believes that Ukraine simply becomes an international online store for babies. And they don’t know the real number of such children that Ukraine ‘supplies’ in this way. He stressed that no State is obliged to “provide” a family with a child, especially to a foreign family, adding that, in his views surrogacy is the exploitation of women in order to earn income by private businesses and meet the needs of adults. However, it violates children’s rights. [1]

For her part, the Ukraine Parliament’s Human Rights Commissioner, Liudmyla Denisova, acknowledged that the State was not taking all appropriate measures to protect children’s rights and dignity, while Ukraine is becoming a donor country for foreigners, giving birth to children whose fate it cannot control. It further stated that surrogacy in Ukraine is a problem that requires a comprehensive and immediate response. [2]

A deputy from the majority party wrote a regulatory draft law in May 2020 which provides, inter alia, for the granting of compulsory licences, with an annual contribution of two million hryvnia, for clinics dealing with reproductive technologies in the form of surrogacy. […] According to him, this will provide protection against “small medical practices and agencies” that start this activity fundied only with a small amount of thousand hryvnia. He adds: “This is an economic issue for ‘our women’, because they receive good money that they would not earn in our country … to invest in their families, to raise children, to educate them …”. [3] N.B. For him, couples are entitled to surrogacy, because not having children can be a reason for divorce. This bill is in fact only a way to “improve” the regulation of reproductive exploitation and the sale of babies for the benefit of the Ukrainian state.

Market reactions

The founder of the Biotexcom Medical Center, (the main surrogacy center in Ukraine), Albert Tochylovsky, believes that surrogacy allows Ukrainian women in small towns to feed themselves and their families. He said that “unfortunately, we have two parts in Ukraine: one is in Kiev [N.B. rich] and the rest in small regions [N.B. poor] where, according to statistics, 54% of women and 46% of men live. In these small regions, there are many single-parent families with two or three children and women who cannot feed their families … Mothers who attend our programs [to become surrogate mothers] have the opportunity to build homes, raise their children and provide them with an education. [4]. [Comment the powerful have always managed to pass off their turpitude as humanitarian work!]

United States – New York State takes advantage of the pandemic to legalize commercial surrogacy

Taking advantage of the pandemic, the State of New York surreptitiously legalized commercial surrogacy on April 2, 2020. by including this provision in the voting text of the state budget!! During the presentation of the initial text before the state Senate, feminists, including Gloria Steinem and lesbian Congresswoman Deborah Glick, opposed it. [5]
Surrogacy is currently legal, or not expressly prohibited, in all states except New York, Louisiana and Michigan. The bill passed on Friday means New York will allow residents to enter into paid surrogacy contracts beginning February 15, 2021.

Germany – reaffirmation of the ban on oocyte donation and surrogacy

German Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has rejected the FDP’s request to allow non-commercial surrogacy in Germany. He said that the law, enacted in 1990, was intended to guarantee the uniqueness of motherhood in the interests of the child. Indeed, in the case of surrogacy, surrogate mother and child are dissociated. [6]

At the beginning of 2020, German feminists had launched an initiative entitled “For reproductive justice! The current ban on oocyte donation and surrogacy in Germany must be maintained. ICAMS, International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood, supported their initiative by participating in the conference that launched their appeal on 11 January 2020 in Berlin. [7]

United Kingdom – funding for surrogacy to compensate for medical error (inacceptable!)

As a result of a series of misdiagnoses, an English woman whose hospital was unable to diagnose cancer in time realised that she was no longer able to bear a child. She filed a complaint against this hospital, asking that she be financed a commercial surrogacy in the United States as compensation. The judicial process has just been completed, the 5 judges of the British Supreme Court, by three votes to two, granted the plaintiff satisfaction.

The argument for using a commercial surrogacy in California (and not in the United Kingdom) is that “there, the process is fast and binding” (!) [8]

Thus, a surrogate mother in the United States will take risks with her health and her life to compensate for the medical error of a Hospital!!! In the end she is the one who will pay the price!

See also the excellent analysis published by the CoRP https://collectif-corp.com/2020/05/20/la-gpa-altruiste-donne-droit-a-la-gpa-commerciale/

Austria – professionals in favour of abolishing surrogacy

In Austria, health professionals, alerted by the situation of babies born through surrogacy in Kiev, reaffirm the need to abolish surrogacy..[9]

Italy – the abolition of surrogacy, a question of civilisation

“Surrogacy is an inhumane practice in the precise sense of destroying a constituent element of our common humanity”. Publication by Francesca Izzo, Historian of Modern and Contemporary Thought..[10]

Sweden – banning trafficking in surrogate mothers

“For Sweden to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and women’s rights, surrogacy must be banned in poor countries.” A request from the Swedish Women’s Lobby @Kvinnolobbyn. According to a platform signed by several feminist organisations in Sweden (including the Swedish Women’s Lobby, member of CIAMS), the issue of “altruistic surrogacy” has been studied and debated in Sweden. They object to the fact that there are “voices” calling for commercial trafficking to be allowed, but that it should take place at an “adequate” distance, on the periphery of Europe (to top it all off).

They add: “Historically, Sweden has paved the way for children’s and women’s rights with the goal of an egalitarian society. In the legal vacuum of international surrogacy, we are seeing a sharp increase in the trade in women’s reproductive health. Now the question is which country Sweden should be in the future”. They are waiting for an answer from their government.[11]

Canada Quebec – shutting down the surrogacy industry

PDF Québec (Pour les Droits des Femmes au Québec) has asked that Governor @francoislegault take advantage of his family law reform to put an end to this industry. @PdfQuebec

Cambodia – a new law expected to ban surrogacy

The CEDAW Committee, responsible for monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), recommended that Cambodia repeal a law prohibiting the practice of surrogacy (2016, Law against Human Trafficking). The Coalition intervened (unsuccessfully) with the vice-chairs of the committee to withdraw this request from its conclusions. It was deeply shocked by the practices of the CEDAW Committee.

Fortunately Cambodia did not follow their recommendation and a new law is under discussion to deal specifically with surrogacy.  This law, drafted in 2017 will finally be promulgated this year (2020). The ban on surrogacy, already banned in Thailand, aims to stop a lucrative business related to human trafficking and targeting women from low-income families.[12]

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[1] https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-society/3025949-childrens-ombudsman-proposes-banning-surrogacy-in-ukraine.html

[2] https://www.unian.info/kyiv/coronavirus-lockdowns-leave-46-surrogacy-infants-stranded-in-kyiv-hotel-news-kyiv-10995584.html

[3]https://www.ukrinform.ua/rubric-society/3028445-radi-proponuut-vvesti-pokaranna-za-mahinacii-iz-surogatnim-materinstvom.html

[4] https://www.ukrinform.ua/rubric-society/3028481-surogatne-materinstvo-zasnovnik-medcentru-biotexcom-rozkriv-oci-politikam.html

[5] https://www.feministcurrent.com/2020/04/19/surrogacy-is-not-a-gay-rights-issue-its-a-womens-rights-issue/

[6] https://www.regio-journal.info/en/spahn-gegen-legalisierung-der-leihmutterschaft/

[7] http://abolition-ms.org/actualites/pour-une-justice-reproductive-linterdiction-actuelle-du-don-dovocytes-et-de-la-maternite-de-substitution-en-allemagne-doit-etre-maintenue/

[8]https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/apr/01/uk-woman-wins-claim-for-nhs-to-pay-us-surrogacy-costs?fbclid=IwAR1Er6Ay2BUWqHMMKoD2iSZLzAMOCKKxdmVQI32r_wpbGTxFZRMNiNhSY6U

[9] http://abolition-ms.org/de/nachrichten/stellungnahme-zu-den-in-kiew-festsitzenden-babys-nach-leihmutterschaft/

[10]https://www.huffingtonpost.it/entry/labolizione-universale-dellutero-in-affitto-e-questione-di-civilta_it_5ec126e0c5b66fa1ceece399

[11] https://www.gp.se/debatt/extremt-att-vilja-till%C3%A5ta-kommersiellt-surrogatm%C3%B6draskap-1.27548134

[12] https://www.khmertimeskh.com/711396/surrogacy-law-in-the-kingdom-long-overdue/

 

 

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