A French feminist group, the International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood (ICASM), has asked candidates in this month’s European election candidates to support the abolition of surrogacy.
In a radical charter, it says: “Surrogacy violates the rights of children and the rights of women by contributing to a society based on the use and abuse of persons, organizing a first and second class of human beings, promoting an unequal global order discriminatory between human beings.”
It demands not just more regulation for surrogacy, but its abolition.
Current surrogacy laws vary throughout Europe. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, altruistic surrogacy is legal while commercial surrogacy is illegal. Italy, Spain, France and Germany ban all forms of surrogacy.
ICASM contends that surrogacy commercialises women’s bodies, promotes the sale of children, increases inequality between women, and does not satisfy rights claims (it claims that there is no right to motherhood or to children), among other objections to legalising surrogacy.
Forging international agreements on surrogacy is a thorny task. Some countries require the intended mother to be recognised as the legal parent while others recognise the surrogate as the legal parent. Not only does this demonstrate legal inconsistency, it may also be a sign of foundational disagreements in ethics.
Earlier this year the European Court sought advice from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on surrogacy laws in France. Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International explained:
“European states generally prohibit surrogacy as they recognize that it violates the dignity of the child and the surrogate mother. The genetic and emotional implications of surrogacy for children, parents, and future generations pose a threat towards the family which is the core unit of our society. It is important to uphold these laws protecting children and the family from the raw, undignified commercialization of the human person by the surrogacy industry.”
Nic Zumaran writes from Sydney
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