Universal abolition of surrogacy: the movement launched in France

The French Parliament spent a day examining the issue of surrogacy. The result is a universal charter for the abolition of surrogate motherhood.

A solemn decision taken by some Catholic associations as well as French progressives and feminists, led by Sylviane Agacinski, to pay back their long-term efforts against the practice of gestational surrogacy, also known as host or full surrogacy.


Female intellectuals, scholars and economists took part in the three hours of debate at the French Parliament. They showed documents and testimonies and told that surrogacy – in most cases – isn’t a gift or an expression of solidarity, but injustice and oppression against the poor.


The stories of thousands of Indian as well as Thai women who are part of an increasing “system of biotechnological production of children” – as the French feminist and philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, wife of former socialist prime Minister Lionel Jospin defined it – particularly caused a sensation. The author of Corps en miettes (“Body into pieces”, Flammarion) accused the newspapers to “lose their way while looking for progress. Newspapers only talk about the happiness of couples that want a child to the point that they’re convinced to have a right to it regardless of the means to have one. But despite this propaganda, people begin to understand, thanks to a number of documentaries, the violence from which women suffer when seeing maternity entering the market”.


french parliament
The French Parliament.


The three groups that launched the initiative are the CADAC (Union for women’s rights), CLF (Lesbian French Coordination) and CORP (Union for the Respect of the Individual) led by Agacinski. The American leader and founder of the Center for bioethics and culture network Jennifer Lahl, who became a global point of reference of the civil struggle with her documentaries and petitions, came to Europe to take part in the campaign.


It’s not necessary to regulate the practice, they say, but ban it everywhere

Violence, slavery, neo colonial market: these are the images evoked. The struggle against surrogacy has to do with the struggle against prostitution, because both have to do with the selling of women’s bodies. So, one of the major challenges is fighting against the sweetened perception of gestational surrogacy.


What the French Charter on surrogacy says

It is significant that France, the country of the human rights where in recent months there was a bitter controversy over same-sex marriages, is in the front line to fight surrogacy. The new French charter condemns surrogacy as a “social practice orchestrated by human reproduction companies, in an organized production system involving laboratories, doctors, lawyers, agencies etc. This system needs women as means of production, so that pregnancy and childbirth become a functional process that has a use value and a commercial value and is part of the globalization of human body markets”. The charter finally requires to “to oppose firmly any form of legalization of surrogate motherhood at a national or international level in particular by promoting the elaboration, adoption and effective implementation of an international convention for the abolition of substitute motherhood”.


Finally, the members of the Parliament (not only the French Parliament) have signed the “universal charter for the abolition of surrogacy”, which is available in 7 languages on the site of the CORP association, where it can be signed online.

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