Council of Europe to vote tomorrow on a controversial recommendation on surrogacy

The controversies around Council of Europe’s surrogacy report drafted by discussed rapporteur De Sutter (Belgium) are not finished yet.

On the 21st September, the Council of Europe’s Social Affairs and Health Committee rejected De Sutter’s report for the second time. At the same time, the Committee approved a draft recommendation to the Committee of Ministers to draw up “European guidelines to safeguard children’s rights in relation to surrogacy arrangements“.

The adopted draft recommendation, based on the rejected report prepared by Petra de Sutter also says that the Committee of Ministers should collaborate with the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) on private international law issues surrounding the status of children, including problems arising in relation to legal parentage resulting from international surrogacy agreements, with a view to ensuring that the views of the Council of Europe (including those of PACE and the European Court of Human Rights) are “heard and taken into account in any multilateral instrument that may result from the work of the HCCH”. (PACE website)

This draft recommendation will have to be approved by the same Committee and the whole Assembly of the Council of Europe tomorrow.

Many negative reactions have already been registered:

“We ask to reject that recommendation and to defend the rights of women, in particular the most vulnerable. The first item in this recommendation is to “consider the desirability and feasibility of drawing up European guidelines to safeguard children’s rights in relation to surrogacy arrangements”. Such an item is not acceptable. Recommending guidelines that organize for the consequences of surrogacy arrangements, instead of requiring first the abolition of surrogacy, is akin to accepting surrogacy as an existing fact.”

  • FAFCE  (Federation of Catholic Family Association in Europe) President, Antoine Renard says:

We don’t think that the Members of the Assembly will assume a coward attitude, but we trust they will take a strong stand against the practice of surrogacy, recommending all Member States to ban it.” In fact, the current text is really ambiguous, and remains very vague on how to really protect children’s rights and how to fight surrogacy. If children’s rights need to be safeguarded in relation to surrogacy arrangements, as the draft recommendation currently states, why not recommending to stop this kind of arrangements?

  •  ECPM (European Christian Political Movement) member and Member of the Moldovan Parliament Valeriu Ghiletchi:

“I was glad to see MPs from different European countries, including from various parties, united in this battle to defend moral values and human dignity. It is unacceptable to exploit women renting their reproductive organs as they bear children in order. It is even worse to turn children into merchandise and send them immediately after birth to those who paid for the service contract surrogate. Children need a real mother, not a surrogate mother. Today’s victory is a strong ray of light in a world increasingly comprised of darkness!”

In Italy also fifty Italian lesbian and activist women signed a document against surrogacy. It is one of the first document proposed by the LGBT community “to refuse the commercialisation of women’s body.”  The promoters say the document should not be considered as prohibitionist, but against the possibility of buying and selling human beings.