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Surrogacy legislation: Is woman a child-producing factory asks Anupriya Patel

She said 80 per cent of babies born from surrogates are meant for foreigners, many of whom turn to Indians to escape “tougher laws” in their country.

 surrogacy, surrogacy act, surrogacy ban, commercial surrogacy ban, surrogacy bill, india surrogacy bill, new surrogacy bill, surrogacy in india, commercial surrogacy, indian express news, india news Union Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel. (File Photo)

Rejecting a woman’s right to decide whether or not to let out her womb, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, Anupriya Patel Thursday slammed the mindset of families that “used a woman’s body to make money”.

“People say it is the conscious choice of the woman. Our stand is that it is a very wrong notion of the family as a whole to use the woman’s body to make money. Is she a child-producing factory?” said Patel on the sidelines of India Africa Health Summit.

Asked why the government had banned commercial surrogacy, she said 80 per cent of babies born from surrogates are meant for foreigners, many of whom turn to Indians to escape “tougher laws” in their country. She also said many of them don’t take care of the mother while she is carrying the child and also abandon the baby.

On being asked why surrogacy has been banned for Indian couples, she said it is “allowed for married heterosexual couples” before being reminded that Indian couples too are not allowed to pay for having a baby through a surrogate mother.

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Last week, the Cabinet passed the Surrogacy (regulation) Bill that bans commercial surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy only for childless couples who have been married for at least five years or in cases where their first child suffers from a life-threatening condition or is physically or mentally challenged.

“We have allowed only altruistic surrogacy because we believe there should not be any monetary transaction. Families often coerce women into surrogacy. Should it not be stopped?” Patel asked.

The government recently faced the question of whether a woman is a child producing factory in Rajya Sabha. During a debate on the Bill that increased maternity leave, the opposition had asked why a surrogate mother was denied the privilege. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had said that for a surrogate mother, the usual sick leave is sufficient.

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Asked about that, Patel said: “Surrogates are allowed maternity leave.” On being reminded that it is not the case, she said: “I have not read the Bill, I cannot comment.”

First published on: 02-09-2016 at 02:35:30 am
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