National Assembly: the court hearing for abolishing surrogacy

The court hearing for International abolishment of Maternity substitution was held on Tuesday February 2, 2016 at the National Assembly, while the question has also surfaced within international institutions.

Organized by several national and international feminist movements in the form of two round table discussions, this event aimed to mobilize representatives of the left to realize the gravity of the stakes at issue, and the urgency for taking action. The crucial issue is that the European States take responsibility so that a European initiative achieves prohibition of gestational surrogacy practices in all its facets, whether commercial or not.

Several speakers, from France and elsewhere drew an analogy with prostitution, clearly explaining that gestational surrogacy is not “ethical”. Renting a body for either sexual or reproductive use is completely contradictory to the principle of inalienability of the human body and the dignity of women. Concerning the children, they are not items to be sold or donated.

The manner in which Gestational surrogacy has become part of a reproduction “economy” was also strongly denounced, being the origin of today’s billion dollar “business” .

Several MP’s from the left, followed each other to the floor: the Socialist deputies, such as Laurence Dumont, Benoît Hamon, Elisabeth Guigou, but also Marie-George Buffet (Communist Party) and even European deputy, José Bové.

A first step has thus been achieved, which gives hope that the issue will evolve: the European Parliament has just voted a resolution in December 2015 to condemn Gestational surrogacy practices in all its forms.

There is however, another initiative which remains preoccupying: the report in process at the Council of Europe pre-empted by the Belgian senator, Petra de Sutter, a gynecologist who practices surrogacy in Belgium, where this practice is tolerated, without being legalized. The question of a conflict of interest was raised and it remains a source of controversy. The members of the commission for social issues met last January 27, during the plenary session of the Council in Strasbourg, but refused to examine the question. But the affair has not been concluded, moreover as it has been revealed that Dr. de Sutter has maintained professional ties with an Indian firm, which provides Gestational surrogacy as a profitable business practice.

Alliance VITA, actively involved in the No Maternity Traffic movement to universally forbid gestational surrogacy, calls for more intense citizen mobilization during the upcoming weeks to appeal to the parliamentarians at the Council of Europe.

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