Did Sushma Swaraj deserve the Foreign Ministry

Business with surrogate mothers : The end of the Indian baby factory

Meena Patel is nine months pregnant. But it is not her child that she carries under her heart, but that of a strange couple. According to the "Hindustan Times", she receives the equivalent of around 5600 euros. Otherwise she would have to work seven to eleven years for this sum. The 33-year-old is one of India's surrogate mothers - for now. Because India now wants to ban commercial surrogacy altogether. Patel is outraged: “Will the government give us jobs and a roof over our heads?” She asks.

Most of the customers are foreigners

For a long time India was the baby factory in the world. Only in a few countries could you “rent a uterus” so cheaply and easily, as the media pointedly call the practice. It is true that Indians also use the services of surrogate mothers. But 60 to 80 percent of customers are supposedly foreigners, many from Europe, the United States and Australia. The conservative government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi now wants to put an end to this. The cabinet has approved a corresponding bill.

Foreigners, individuals and homosexual couples will in future be completely forbidden from employing a surrogate mother in India. Indian couples are also only allowed to use this route if they are childless after five years of marriage. But that's not all: the surrogate mother must be a close relative and must not take any money, but should act from purely "altruistic" motives. Violations can result in imprisonment for up to ten years.

When presenting the bill, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj named surrogate motherhood an unfortunate trend. It has become fashionable among the rich and beautiful to have their children born. This obviously alluded to the fact that not only in Hollywood, but also in Bollywood some stars had children this way. The ban is likely to mean the end of many of the 2,000 to 3,000 baby clinics. So that the surrogate mothers can still bear all the children, the law should not come into force for ten months. However, the plans are controversial. According to the doctors concerned, the law threatens to make the multi-million dollar business illegal.

Middlemen and clinics make money from the business

The opposition Congress Party also speaks of a “Stone Age design”. The law is paternalistic, anti-liberal and shaped by outdated values. Almost all of them, of course, see a need for action. For years, critics have complained that women can easily be exploited. Some surrogate mothers get 9,000 euros, others are fobbed off with 1,000 euros, while middlemen and clinics make the real mess.
Activists are calling for women's rights to be strengthened. The ban robs them of what is often the only chance they have to escape poverty.

Studies show that women use the money very carefully. Some buy a house, others build it for the education of their own children. “My youngest is two years old. I need the money to put him in an English-speaking kindergarten, "said 27-year-old Amrita Singh of the Hindustan Times. “How else can we earn hundreds of thousands of rupees in nine months,” says 30-year-old Kailash Solanki. If she works as a day laborer, she and her husband would get just 66 euros a month together. “How are we supposed to feed our two children with it?” 30-year-old Vandana Yusug also considers the debate to be hypocritical. “They call us baby machines. But when we give birth to our husbands one child at a time, they say nothing. It doesn't make any difference to us. "

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