French MPs propose constitutional ban on surrogacy
French MPs want to engrave the ban on surrogacy in the Constitution to strengthen its current ban. Although the practice is officially forbidden, the current legislation is limited. A constitutional ban, however, might mostly be symbolic.
Thibault Bazin, along with fifteen other members of the liberal-conservative Les Républicains (LR), tabled a bill to prohibit the use of surrogate mothers in France. According to Bazin, surrogacy "flouts the essential principles of respect for the human person". It also objectifies children and exploits women, Bazin says. This reports the French daily Le Figaro.
The proposed addition to the Constitution is an article to complete Title VIII of the French Constitution: "No one may resort to surrogacy". "Surrogacy was presented as a red line during the revision of bioethics laws, including by Emmanuel Macron", Bazin recalls to the Christian news website Famille Chrétienne. “If it really is, then you might as well engrave it in stone in the Constitution so that it cannot be easily challenged".
A constitutional ban would not make it impossible for French citizens to obtain a child through surrogacy abroad. As CNE.news reported earlier, it is nearly impossible to completely ban surrogacy in a country if other countries have contradictive legislation. Bazin acknowledges this. However, according to the MP, a constitutional ban "would perhaps strengthen the dissuasive nature of this practice, particularly for the agencies and companies which help these families".
In 1994, the French Parliament adopted a law prohibiting surrogacy in France. However, nearly thirty years later, the effectiveness of this measure is no longer assured. "Today, we have a legislative arsenal that prohibits surrogacy, but its scope is limited", explains Bazin to Le Figaro. We see more and more French people going abroad for surrogacy, accompanied by agencies organising their trips and putting them in touch with clinics. The ban on surrogacy seems ineffective. To my knowledge, no agency or consultant has been condemned for approaching or supporting French clients. At fairs, they come to promote this practice. In addition, there is an evolution in case law increasingly favourable to the recognition of the effects of surrogacy".
Bazin likely refers to the Désir d'enfant show in Paris, a fertility fair. As CNE reported earlier, a recent documentary allegedly showed surrogacy being arranged, despite a ban on it. The documentary was made by the political organisation 'La Manif Pour Tous' (Protest for all). They went to the fair with a hidden camera.
According to Famille Chrétienne, the steps to ban surrogacy constitutionally are delicate. Le Figaro is even stronger in its wording. According to the newspaper, constitutional law proposals initiated by parliamentarians have little chance of succeeding because of the complexity of the procedure. First, the text must be selected among the subjects which will be presented within the parliamentary "niche" of the Republicans (each party has niches according to its number of voices to present bills). "We have about one slot per year; it won't be easy", says Thibault Bazin. But another solution could be to present this measure as an amendment within a constitutional revision project that the government would lead. "Perhaps there will be a new project during this five-year term".
Whatever happens, it will be necessary to pass the stage of the parliamentary shuttles, then that of the referendum, necessary to modify the Constitution except if it is a text presented by the President of the Republic to the Parliament convened in Congress.
In a resolution voted on May 5, 2022, the European Parliament condemned surrogacy, judging that this practice could "expose women throughout the world to exploitation, in particular, those who are poorer and find themselves in situations of vulnerability".
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