The 2016 bill of is a direct attack on the sacred values of marriage, family, women and children. Mothers become mere couriers. Surrogate motherhood is like renting or buying goods. The womb and women’s reproductive capacity become marketable commodities. Multiple parenthood is an issue.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The surrogacy bill is a "direct attack on the sacred values of the institution of marriage, the family, the dignity of women and the natural rights of the child,” says Fr Jaison Vadassery, secretary of the Labour Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), in a statement released by the Delhi Forum of Priests and Nuns Lawyers.
“Surrogacy is only a form of renting and buying, even if the law may ban marketing it,” the statement goes on to say. “The draft legislation is structured so as not to deal with the current problems. It could do more harm than good, leading to the exploitation of women.”
Over the years, India has become the world’s surrogacy hub. Last year, the Indian government introduced a bill to regulate womb renting. Under new rules, women’s bodies can no longer be used for commercial purposes. In addition, only infertile Indian couples can resort to surrogacy and only a close relative can act as a surrogate mother.
Yet, despite the apparent restrictions, the lawyers’ forum believes that they could easily manipulated. The forum’s statement ‘Catholic Priests and Nuns Lawyers demand the prohibition of surrogacy in India’ follows (Edited by AsiaNews).
The Delhi Forum of Priests and Nuns Lawyers considers the 2016 bill to regulate surrogacy as a direct attack on the sacred values of the institution of marriage, the family, the dignity of women and the natural rights of the child. Surrogacy is only a form of renting and buying, even if the law may ban marketing it.
The draft legislation is structured so as not to deal with the current problems. It could do more harm than good, leading to the exploitation of women. The womb and the gift of reproductive capacity, along with the ultimate rights of the child, are treated as commodities in a market. The right of a child in the womb to be attached to the woman that carried and nurtured him or her for nine months is treated like breeding a cow to improve quality or quantity.
Motherhood becomes really insignificant and the mother is like a courier. The law ignores its psychological and ethical dimension. Surrogacy does not only promote multiple parenthood, which is against the integrity of human beings, but also reduces the freedom of the natural right of a child to be linked to his or her biological/natural mother. It is a dichotomy of divine duty and science.
The bill says nothing about the child's ability to select a surrogate who will be his or her mother. The law promises a complete ban on commercial surrogacy and offers close monitoring by the appropriate authorities. However, many fear that the procedures, like in the case of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill and its amendments, can be manipulated. One can easily imagine how surrogacy between relatives can add pressure on women to procreate children for infertile relatives. Thus, patriarchy wins the race.
The indivisible instinct of a mother giving birth and raising a child no longer exists. With advances in reproductive science and the entrepreneurial mindset of some, the one who carries the seed is now a simple vessel, a nursery for sprouting, with the tree immediately taken to some other land on which to grow.
The bill will help the high and mighty at the expense of women. The process and procedure of surrogacy constitute a comprehensive health risk for women. The provision of health insurance for the period of pregnancy and the ambiguity [of the bill] in case of failure are, again, things that underscore why a complete prohibition of surrogacy is justified.
(Santosh Digal contributed to this article)