'Surrogacy bill draft smacks of Stone Age'

'Surrogacy bill draft smacks of Stone Age'

'Surrogacy bill draft smacks of Stone Age'

 In the first political reaction to the Union Cabinet’s draft bill to regulate commercial surrogacy, the Congress has said it was not at all in line with the “social milieu that we live in and is non-scientific.”

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the bill “resembled a draft from the “Stone Age” and appeared to have been brought out by “surrogate organisations” such as the RSS and VHP. Seeking reconsideration of the move, he said it was not in keeping with contemporary India and showed a “most anti-liberal approach.”

Two days ago, while announcing the draft bill, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that those eligible for surrogacy will have to be “Indian, married and infertile.”

Singhvi said all kinds of value judgments have been injected into it in a “very paternalistic manner” by excluding surrogacy by live-in couples, those with adopted children, those with a single child, homosexuals, NRIs and foreigners.

“Why are they restricting surrogacy only to married couples? Surrogacy could be desired by widows, live-in partners and NRIs among others,” he said.

“If all the categories are banned, then why have surrogacy at all, ” he said, adding that it was strange that the reason for excluding overseas citizens of India and foreigners was that divorces are very common in foreign countries.

“They have delegated the drafting of this surrogacy bill perhaps to the surrogate RSS and VHP. This is a surrogate delegation to surrogate agencies,” he  said.

Singhvi held that the UPA had a far wider canvas in the 2010 bill — the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill. He said in that bill, homosexuals were excluded. “Times have changed and that also requires a rethink.” He said Assisted Reproductive Technologies. including in vitro fertilisation and sperm donation, should also be discussed.