Brussels, 15 March 2016

Today the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rejected a draft report on Human Rights and ethical issues related to Surrogacy. The rejection is good news for human dignity as the proposal aimed at regulating the practice of surrogacy. A regulation would imply that this practice, which exploits women and children, is acceptable.

The European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) has a participatory status at the Council of Europe and is a member of the Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe. FAFCE has followed the work of the Social Affairs Committee on the surrogacy report from its beginning and have issued several voting recommendations and provided legislative proposals to the Member of the Committee. One of the key points underlined in FAFCE’s communication towards the Members was the need to consider this sensitive issue at length. Today’s vote proves that further reflection is necessary in order to raise awareness about the negative impact of surrogacy for women and children. It was with a very short margin that the report was rejected with 16 votes against and 15 in favour.

FAFCE’s President Antoine Renard states that “surrogate motherhood can never be acceptable, whatever the motives are. It exploits women’s bodies, integrity and dignity. It turns children into a commodity. It is in every sense a contemporary form of exploitation that contains many of the features of slavery“.

The European Parliament has already condemned surrogacy twice, both during this legislative term and during the precedent term. FAFCE welcomes today’s vote and the fact that the majority voted against the draft report, hence expressing support for a total ban on surrogacy. It is very encouraging that the Social Affairs Committe follows the example of the European Parliament, all the more given that the Council of Europe has 47 Member States.

Mobilisation of citizens across Europe, and across the political spectrum against surrogacy prove that this is an issue that is universal. The rejection of the draft report is a step ahead for human dignity but FAFCE will nevertheless remain vigilant and monitor the evolutions within the Council of Europe in the coming months.

Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General
+32 (0)470 20 39 18