Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In India trafficking in organs and blood is prohibited by law; Yet, surrogacy which de-humanizes women and deprives them of their basic rights remains a common and legal practice. For this reason, the participants in the National Symposium on "To protect, preserve and promote the gift of human life: the emerging challenges" - which was held recently in Mumbai - are asking the government to intervene to rectify this discrepancy. Below is the full text of the appeal.
More than four hundred lawyers, nurses, social workers, theologians, men and women of various walks of life from different parts of India, gathered at St. Pius the Tenth College, Goregaon, Mumbai, from October 17 - 19, 2014, for a National Symposium on "Protecting, Preserving and Promoting the Gift of Human Life: Emerging Challenges".
Deeply saddened by the ever-growing, dehumanising, alarming practice of surrogacy in India, we the participants of the National Symposium appeal to the Government to uphold the dignity of Indian women and ban surrogacy in India as is done in several countries of the world. Indian culture has always held high the sacred role of the mother. Surrogacy commercializes this sacred image and demeans motherhood.
Vulnerable and marginalized women lured to rent their wombs are treated like commodities. This disregards their dignity as human persons, women, wives and mothers. The nine-month prolonged separation and confinement to surrogate hostels wrenches women away from their own biological families.
The commissioning parents, agents and concerned medical centers control the delivery process through their monetary power invariably forcing unwarranted caesarian sections increasing maternal morbidity and mortality.
Whereas the government has introduced legislation banning commercialization of blood donation and organ transplantation, the question arises as to why surrogacy has not been similarly addressed.
We strongly appeal to the Supreme Court, the Legislature and the Executive to ban Surrogacy in India.
* President of the theological and doctrinal Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India