Council of Europe rejects surrogacy

On the 11th of October, the Plenary Session Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rejected a draft recommendation on surrogacy. ECPM has since long been pressing for the abolition of surrogacy and is glad to welcome this development.

On the 11th of October, the Plenary Session Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rejected a draft recommendation with the title "European guidelines to safeguard children’s rights in relation to surrogacy arrangements". This recommendation was adopted around one month ago by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development (SOC) of PACE after a controversial resolution on surrogacy, that was drafted by Belgian Senator Petra De Sutter was rejected.

This was the second rejection on a resolution on surrogacy, as in last March, an earlier version of her report was rejected as well. Additionally, in its meeting on the 11th of October, the SOC Committee also adopted - by a clear majority - two amendments on the recommendation in question that asked for a ban on surrogacy. The final view of the majority of the SOC was clear: to not legalize but to ban surrogacy. The rejected resolution of Mrs De Sutter initially called for legal regulations for the provision of surrogacy agreements across the 47 Member States. The draft recommendation was controversial since it actually had the same aim. However, the PACE made it clear on several occasions that it is against surrogacy. 

The ECPM is pressing for the abolition of surrogacy, a position that was declared in a resolution at the 2015 General Assembly. ECPM MPs took an active part in the plenary debate, condemning surrogacy and arguing for the abolition of surrogacy:

Jeffrey Donaldson (UK): “All the International Conventions place Human Dignity as a priority as opposed to the objectification of the human body…. these international Conventions should be respected. Surrogacy represents a formal form of human trafficking.”

Ben-Oni Ardelean (Romania): “If we don’t call for a ban on surrogacy, I fear that the global surrogacy market will grow.”

Valeriu Ghiletchi (Moldova): “We must go further than regulation and ban surrogacy…We have a duty as a leading Human Rights Assembly in the world to protect the rights of women and children.”

Ronan Mullen (Republic of Ireland): “We have the opportunity to make a clear statement that the human dignity and rights of both, mothers and children, taken together and not in conflict with each other call for us to make a clear statement against surrogacy as a matter of public policy as many international instruments have done.”

Pavel Unguryan (Ukraine): “There are many feminist groups and Human Rights Organizations who are very concerned …. The Council of Europe must work towards a total ban and prohibition of all surrogacy arrangements.”

Monica Bartos (Hungary): “Two years ago, when we have started to deal with the issue of surrogacy, definitions such as: trafficking of human beings, black market, children and mothers as commodity, for profit arrangements, wombs for rent have arisen… we have heard nothing about the most essential element: that a child is a real gift.”

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