Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Press release | Surrogacy debated again at the Council of Europe

PACEBrussels, 14 June 2016

During the Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) next week a new draft report on surrogacy will be presented to the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development by the Belgian Senator Dr. Petra De Sutter (Socialist Group). As indicated in the Committee Draft Agenda, the Members of the Committee will be called to discuss this draft proposal and possibly adopt it on Tuesday 21 and on Wednesday 22 June.

The Committee of Social Affairs already rejected a draft report which included certain forms of acceptance of surrogate motherhood on 15 March. Nevertheless, the Rapporteur, who has been accused of conflict of interests due to direct links with clinics that provide surrogacy, decided to not resign as rapporteur. Hence the issue is back on the agenda, with the same rapporteur. As a Commitee Member noted, "the risk is now that what we rejected at the door will come back through the window".

We are deeply concerned with the lack of clarity and transparency in the procedure applied to the report. Therefore we strongly encourage all Members of the Committee to act, accordingly to their duties, in a manner that would not question the credibility of the Assembly of the Council of Europe itself.

We are also worried by the risk of using the noble concept of the best interest of the child to legitimise the practice of surrogacy, which is already forbidden in many European Countries.

110.000 citizens already requested the PACE to condemn all forms of surrogacy via the No Maternity Traffic Petition, which was recently transmitted by the Assembly Bureau to the Social Affairs Committee. 

As stated in our Resolution on motherhood and surrogacy, "the practice of surrogacy is of great concern for all FAFCE Members. This practice is spreading throughout the world, creating a slippery slope towards the right to a child, and having no respect for human dignity or fundamental ethical principles". FAFCE strongly condemns "any form of surrogacy, which instrumentalises women and children, whether accompanied by a financial transaction or not (...). An international convention on the prohibition of surrogacy would help pave the way for the abolition of this modern form of slavery, as we suggested in our briefing note.

FAFCE, as a Member of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, calls on the Members of the Social Affairs Committee to implement the procedure on Human rights and ethical issues related to surrogacy, with due respect for the rules and clearly condemn this practice, not legitimising it under any circumstances.

Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General 
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