Next March 15 in Paris, the Council of Europe’s Commission for social issues will be examining a project on surrogate motherhood. It is urgent to rally against this text which threatens to liberalize surrogate motherhood throughout Europe.
Yet, last November 2”, 2015, the social Commission for the Council of Europe had decided to postpone sine die this examination, due to potential failure of respecting deontology in the Parliamentary Assembly. Indeed, the rapporteur for this proposition, the senator and Belgian gynecologist, Petra de Sutter, practices surrogacy herself since it is tolerated in Belgium without having a legal status. Some investigations equally demonstrate her link with an Indian clinic Seeds of Innocence, where surrogacy is practiced for commercial purposes. On January 27, 2016, the Commission’s members decided to renounce pronouncing on the issue and to continue their study. The petitions asking to clarify the rapporteur’s conflict of interest nevertheless continue at the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe.
Caroline Roux, Alliance VITA’s International Director, who coordinates with other international associations, No Maternity Traffic, reminds us what is at stake: “it’s so very important that European citizens look at this issue and make sure their voices are heard. The Council of Europe is not fulfilling its’ role if human rights are violated. Surrogate motherhood is particularly serious. It endorses women exploitation and their domination by sponsors. In addition, surrogate motherhood also seriously violates the rights of the child, who is the object of a programme, in which he is to be deliberately abandoned and cut off from the woman who bore him. Although some couples suffer from infertility this should not let us forget that this practice represents a mistreatment regarding his origins, which no regularization can repair. “Ethical” surrogate motherhood does not exist, nor does the “right” to a child. The only possible solution at an international level is the universal prohibition of surrogate motherhood, as is already the case on a world-wide level for cloning and trafficking of human beings.”
Besides, we observe a greater awareness of the seriousness of the issues related to surrogacy. In December 2015, a majority in the European Parliament condemned any and all surrogacy practices. In Sweden, a governmental report on surrogate motherhood was submitted to Parliament on February 2, 2016, calling for a solemn ban on any and all practices of surrogacy in that country. Several countries equally are starting to review their legislation in order to forbid this practice, starting by refusing recourse to foreign clinics; this is the case in India, Thailand or Nepal. These countries bring the genuine proof that the laws (and even the absence of explicit laws) can be reviewed if deemed unfair.
How to make a difference?
- Urgent: Prior to March 14: sign and share the No Maternity Traffic petition calling for the abolition of surrogate motherhood. This petition will be handed over to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council in the near future.
- Rally on Tuesday March 15, 2016 in Paris, in front of the Council of Europe Office at 55 Ave. Kleber, 16th district, (Metro Station Boissière). The objective is to request that the Commission for social issues, who are gathered together that very day examine the text, and forbid the practice of surrogate motherhood in all forms.