Surrogacy: a battle in the Justice Commission

In Italy surrogacy is illegal according to Law 40 of 2004, article 12, paragraph 6 which states that GPA “is punishable by imprisonment from three months to two years and a fine of 600,000 to one million euro”.

Recent debates took place in the Justice Commission on surrogacy (GPA), where the right-wing majority are aiming to turn the cause into a “universal offence” (i.e. an offence punishable in Italy even if undertaken in a country where GPA is legal). On the opposition front row, Alessandro Zan calls all of this a “legal obrobrio”, with the sole purpose to ongoingly discriminate against homogenous families.

But if Zan and the PD secretary Elly Schlein are in favour and open to dialogue, there’s a ‘reformist’ part of the Democratic Party that has already signed a petition to say no to the GPA: 514 signatures have been collected, confirming the dissent on the issue even within the Left.

“As the Constitutional Court has written,” reads the text of the petition, “surrogacy intolerably offends the dignity of women and deeply undermines human relations, supporting an unacceptable commodification of the body, often to the detriment of women who are more vulnerable economically and socially. We call on politicians to abide by these principles in confirming the ban on surrogacy in our country and, as the Constitutional Court emphasises, curbing the practice with an effort that also requires commitments at the international level. GPA is an intolerable practice and must be opposed in all spheres, starting with the European institutions and the UN”.

The petition was presented on the same day as a discussion in Parliament took place concerning the law that aims to punish GPA as a universal crime (expected in June). The day before saw the right-wing’s clear victory in local elections, with the secretary of the PD falling victim to friendly fire from her own party. “The timing is not related to the local elections,” pointed out Emilia Romagna Giuseppe Paruolo, regional councillor , and one of the petition’s promoters, “but to the fact that the parliamentary debate on surrogacy begins tomorrow.”

Zan fought in the Commission all night to thwart a right-wing party that wants to pass a law to criminalise rainbow families at any cost. But will his efforts be in vain?

Maria Cecilia Castellazzi, Trainee Lawyer

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