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Renting Wombs is a Human Wrong, not a Human Right

Diagram of a fetus, lying on its side, in an opened womb from one of the earliest books on Obstetrics via Wellcome Images

The Council of Europe has rejected a report recommending the legalization of surrogacy. This decision is a victory for human rights: Despite arguments that surrogacy is “compassionate,” its history of contentious litigation and documented human rights abuses make clear that it is a grave wrong.

On Tuesday, March 15, a decision was made in Paris that can only be described as a victory for human rights. The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rejected a report recommending the legalization of surrogacy in all forty-seven Member States.

While surrogacy arrangements can take a variety of forms—if in-vitro fertilization is used, the “birth mother” and the “genetic mother” can be different people, and it’s even possible for both biological parents to be anonymous sperm and egg donors—at its essence, surrogacy is an agreement whereby the birth mother agrees to carry a child for a couple who are unable to have children. So why describe the PACE committee’s decision as a “victory” for human rights? Shouldn’t those who are unable to have children have the option of using a surrogate?

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