Bill on Surrogacy

Abhishek manu singhvi 1 Fri, 30 Sep 2016

Bill on Surrogacy

Spokesperson: Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi: He said that the new Surrogacy Bill which appears to have been approved by the Cabinet seems to be resembling a draft of the stone ages. It appears that the most anti-liberal approach not at all contemporaneous with the social milieu in which we live, not contemporaneous with the year 2016,nonprogressive, non-scientific, non-contemporaneous. All kinds of value judgments have been injected into it in a very paternalistic manner. Let me give you some examples.

This Bill, therefore, excludes surrogacy by live-in couples, it excludes surrogacy by couples who have any adopted child, it excludes surrogacy by a couple which has a single child and of course, it excludes surrogacy for live-in-partners or homosexuals. It excludes surrogacy by all NRIs, OCIS and PIOs. In fact,there is a very interesting reason given in the Bill for excluding all Foreigners, NRIs and OCIs. They say “Because divorces are very common in foreign countries”,as if India is a stranger to divorces. Now, I want to ask you a question why will you have surrogacy at all if it is restricted only to married couples. I would imagine that only a very-veryvery a small fraction ofmarried couples would want to have a surrogate child. Surrogacy is desired either by unmarried singles, divorcees, widows, live-in-couples, foreigners and childless couples etc. etc. All the categories are banned. Then why have surrogacy?This is, therefore, an extremely anti-liberal kind of a law.

Another very interesting point here is that the UPA also had two versions of the Bill in 2008 and finally in 2010. First of all, we had a far wider canvass in our main Final 2010 Bill. That was the AssistiveReproductive Technologies Bill. This is very important distinction because we should not talk only of Surrogacy. Surrogacy is making a womb of woman available for a surrogate child and Assistive Reproductive Technologies includes sperm donation, IVF and all other kinds of options. This is, therefore, a much narrower Bill than the 2010 version of the UPA. Our version allowed a far wider category of those intending to practice surrogacy including Foreigners, NRIs, OCIs and including married-couples with one child including single people. Of course, in our version also, which was 8 years ago, Homosexuals were excluded. But the times have changed and even that perhaps requires a rethink but the point is that we had a muchmore nuanced, regulated, focused approach. Friday, 26th August, 2016.