The Surrogacy Bill, 2016 was in making for almost a decade now. It was drafted in a number of ways but it is only now that the draft has been finally tabled and guess what? This one probably is the worst of the lot.
Surrogacy Bill, 2016
Flaws and unjust bans is what sums up the cabinet approved Surrogacy Bill, 2016 which will be presented in Parliament for approval in the next session.
Instead of addressing the problems, the newly tabled Bill tries to impose bans which will kill the Surrogacy treatment.
For the longest of times surrogacy industry has flourished in India but from what it looks, the bill is just going to end it all.
The Bill is gonna allow ‘altruistic surrogacy’ for limited people. Only childless, heterosexual Indian couples who have been married for five years and are living in India can now avail of fertility treatment. And if they have to find someone to carry the baby, they have to seek out a family relation who will do it out of self-sacrifice..
With this sweeping ban, the Bill negates the rights of parenthood to single persons, divorcees, widowed persons, same sex couples, live-in relationship partners and others who come outside the patriarchal norm.
Questions That Need to be Addressed
What about the rights of the above mentioned sections of the society? And what if one cannot find a suitable person? And these bans have been taken to prevent the women in the industry from exploitation? Ever heard that women are exploited and forced into doing something by their own families the most than anyone else?
Do you think a sister-in-law have much say when she is approached to be a surrogate mother? Even it would be against her wishes, she’ll be forced to go ahead with it.
And what about women who are the only bread earning member in a family depending on the surrogacy industry for 2 square meals a day?
Also, if the foetus is discovered to have a problem, what happens if the surrogate mother decides she does not want an abortion for religious or emotional reasons? Will the parents capable of taking care of the child since they’ll be compelled by law to not abandon him/her?
What if surrogacy results in a girl child and the parents adopting want an abortion? Will the surrogate mother have a choice with respect to the fact that we’re living in India?
Oh, and here’s the reason why live-in and homosexual couples cannot opt for surrogacy. “We don’t recognise homosexuality and live-in relationships. It is against our ethos.”
Whose ethos and what are these ethos that we are talking about? Because if the ‘we’ in the statement refers to the public opinion, ‘we’ do recognise it.
And those who do fit within the government’s careful definition, even you can’t opt for altruistic/self-sacrifice surrogacy if you have a biological or adopted child. Your child has to be mentally or physically challenged or should suffer from a life-threatening disorder for you to be able to adopt.
So, basically the bill lays out ’We are gonna decide if you can have a child; otherwise, yeah you are free to adopt.’?
And some might say that adoption is a solution? There are thousands of children who might need a home, but isn’t adoption supposed to be a personal choice?
And why is it that the bill just talks about imposing bans, bans and some more bans? What about regulation of the surrogacy industry?
The bill is actually effecting everyone but the affected. Lol. Just bans, bans and bans. Where’s the improvement or betterment of the people?
Seeing the bill in light of these questions, what is understood is that no Tom, Dick and Harry can bring in a legislation. It has to be thought through.
And isn’t that the only thing what we demand of such a legislation?
If the bill actually gets approved further, a step aimed at saving a few will definitely be unjust for a larger part of the population in the country!
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