PRESS: For Immediate Release
Over 50 organisations and nearly 800 individuals sign open letter condemning the Law Commissioners’ consultation on proposals for commercial-style surrogacy in the UK
The UK and Scottish Law Commissioners’ joint consultation on opening up commercial-style surrogacy in the UK ends today (11th October 2019). The proposals and the methodology of the consultation have been heavily criticised by numerous women’s groups from the United Kingdom and around the world in an open letter sent to the UK and Scottish Law Commissioners today. The open letter, organised by campaign group, Nordic Model Now! was also signed by hundreds of concerned individuals.
The key concerns outlined in the open letter are that the consultation:
- Does not conform to accepted methodology or even the government’s own consultation guidelines
- Does not comply with the public sector equality duty (PSED)
- Uses spurious and discredited ‘human rights’ justifications
- Does not conform to binding legal obligations under human rights treaties
- Does not properly consider the medical risks
- Does not consider the linked and dangerous practice of egg harvesting
- Includes no measures to prevent and criminalise coercing women into participation
- Does not consider the coercive forces of payments in the current environment of extreme inequality
- Does not consider the inherent inequality of the surrogacy relationship
- Does not comply with the law commissioners’ own code of practice
- Was led by an expert in property law – rather than an expert in women’s rights and children’s welfare.
One woman who signed the letter left a comment saying, “I have been a surrogate and it has destroyed my life.” This illustrates the extreme risks involved. Another woman got in touch to say:
“I was an unpaid altruistic surrogate and it was an absolutely horrific experience that resulted in me needing treatment for PTSD. I am also left with permanent birth injuries. I was abandoned by the intended parents who just used me up and discarded me after the traumatic birth.
I also think often of the poor, young female student in Eastern Europe who also had to endure egg harvesting and the life-long consequences of that, to pay for her studies. There is very little that is ‘ethical’ about surrogacy.
I am now completely against ALL surrogacy, whether commercial (which is completely immoral in my view), but also altruistic unpaid surrogacy. The potential for abuse is too great. Women should not be encouraged to endanger their emotional and physical health and safety for other people’s ‘need’ to have babies. Women should not be encouraged to put ourselves second, and to risk our lives for other people.”
Nordic Model Now! is a grassroots group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices, including surrogacy.