In a move to reel in the nation's
exploding commercial surrogacy industry, India has proposed a measure
that excludes same-sex couples.
India's foreign minister, Sushma
Swaraj, told reporters on Wednesday that the Surrogacy Regulation
Bill 2016 had cleared the Union Cabinet and that the draft bill would
be introduced in Parliament in the next session.
Swaraj said that the law was needed to
protect poor women from being exploited.
“Many so-called childless couples
were misusing the wombs of poor women,” she said. “It was a
matter of great worry, because there were instances where a girl
child or a disabled child have been abandoned soon after birth.”
Swaraj said that India has about 2,000
surrogacy clinics. The
Washington Post estimated India's commercial surrogacy
industry at $400 million.
The bill proposes limiting surrogacy to
childless, married couples who have waited five years and can prove
that they are medically unable to bear their own children.
Foreigners, single parents and gay couples would be excluded under
the new rules.
Ranjana Kumari of the Center for Social
Research told the Post that an outright ban would “just
drive the whole business underground.” Kumari said that they
lobbied for greater protections for surrogate mothers and “certain
responsibilities put on doctors.”