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Civic groups slam draft legalizing surrogacy

Civil organizations in Taipei yesterday protested against new surrogacy draft legislation that they deemed as flawed and too hastily processed, one day before the government is to announce the results of public surveys on the legalization of surrogacy in Taiwan.

Representatives from various civil organizations attended the press conference to speak up against surrogacy in Taiwan. The new surrogacy draft bill left many controversial issues and potential problems of surrogacy untouched and was hastily rushed through disorganized and ineffective conferences, said women's rights groups at the surrogacy press conference yesterday morning.

Organizations present at the press conference argued that the new draft bill neglected the most fundamentally paramount issues of surrogate mothers' rights, and showed that legislators put little thought into the effectiveness and sustainability of regulating the surrogacy industry, which is currently experiencing growth but remains shrouded in secrecy.

Women's rights groups also say that surrogacy objectifies women's bodies into a commodity, where only poor women would willingly “rent their wombs” for money. They argue that coercion at the societal level would result in poor women acting as surrogates for rich women; therefore, if surrogacy was legalized, the reproductive capabilities of an entire class of poor women would be transformed into a brokered commodity.

The representatives discussed the risks surrogate mothers face, giving examples from past cases of health problems and even deaths resulting from embryo implantation surgery, fetal reduction surgeries, childbirth and more. The legislation will favor the medical community over the rights of the surrogate, they said.

Religious organization Christian Salvation Service (CSS, 基督徒救世會) voiced their stance against surrogacy, claiming it is a morally repugnant malpractice that involves commercial transactions, exploiting children and women as objects of negotiation and price, ultimately ruining the sacred institution of family.

The press conference ended with the civil organizations performing a series of symbolic protests — performing a spiel, signing a petition and finally taping huge “Not for sale!” and “Not a machine!” signs on the pregnant bellies of mannequins.

Organizations that participated in the press conference included the Taipei Association for the Promotion of Women's Rights (TAPWR, 台北市女性權益促進會), Taiwan Women's Link (台灣女人連線), End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism Taiwan (ECPAT, 台灣展翅協會), National Alliance of Taiwan Women's Associations (台灣婦女團體全國聯合會), Child Welfare League Foundation (兒童福利聯盟基金會), Christian Salvation Service (CSS, 基督徒救世會), Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation (婦女救援基金會) and The Garden of Hope Foundation (勵馨基金會).

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Representatives of various civil organizations, women's rights groups and religious associations take part in a protest against draft legislation that would legalize surrogacy in Taipei, yesterday.

(Courtesy of the Child Welfare League Foundation )

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