Condemning ‘misuse’ of altruistic surrogacy, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that “what was started for convenience has become a luxury today.”
This comes immediately after the Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, which aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country.
Swaraj further said that the bill has become important as India has become a surrogacy hub for childless couples, also paving way for unethical practices.
“There will be a complete ban on commercial surrogacy. Childless couples, who are medically unfit to have children, can take help from a close relative, which is called altruistic surrogacy,” she said.
She further said that the option of surrogacy for homosexual couples is against our cultural ethos.
“You can say it (allowing surrogacy for homosexual couples) is looking forward and we can say this doesn’t go with our ethos,” the minister added.
Swaraj also strongly condemned celebrities who chose the path of surrogacy.
“Celebrities are having surrogate babies, in spite of having two children, they have a third, just because the wife couldn’t take the pain, and got someone else to bear their child,” she added.
The centre’s move implies a strong stand against celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, who had surrogate babies after two children, or even Tusshar Kapoor, who became a single father.
What the Bill Entails
The government had recently admitted that in the absence of a statutory mechanism to control commissioning of surrogacy at present, there have been cases of pregnancies by way of surrogacy, including in rural and tribal areas, leading to possible exploitation of women by unscrupulous elements.
The bill was to be taken up by the Union Cabinet on 27 April, but it was dropped from the agenda at the last moment.
To prevent exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas, the government has prohibited foreigners from commissioning surrogacy in the country and has drafted this comprehensive legislation, the sources said.
Source: ANI, PTI and The Indian Express