Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is moving forward with her project to penalize citizens who resort tosurrogacy outside the country. For a decade, the practice has been considered a crime within borders. Now, the Italian Parliament gave a new boost to the folder to also punish those who surrogate wombs abroad.
"Universal crime" is the category with which the right-wing coalition seeks to extend the prohibition of this practice, which consists of a woman carrying in her womb the child of another couple.
This was recorded in the series of amendments that the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies introduced on Wednesday to a bill approved in February by the government led by the far-right and conservative Meloni.
The new amendment prohibits "Italian citizens" from making use of "surrogacy" also abroad. They thus seek, according to the official letter, "to hinder any practice that can be configured as a commercial trafficking of children."
Wednesday's approval is the first parliamentary support for Meloni's bill. Opposition parties, such as the social-democratic Democratic Party (PD) or the populist 5-Star Movement, voted against. They argued that the bill is contrary to the Constitution and does not take children into account, among other arguments.
Giorgia Meloni also wants to penalize Italians who surrogate mothers abroad. Photo Reuters
"Italy is in the hands of an irresponsible government that, to continue its ideological fury, attacks the rights of the people," they said from 5 Stars.
However, the government's position is firm. The Minister for the Family, Birth and Equal Opportunities, Eugenia Roccella, maintained the "clear and absolute condemnation of all forms of surrogacy for being harmful to the dignity of women and the rights of children."
Matteo Salvini, former vice president and current minister of infrastructure, said: "It was our battle and we are carrying it forward: now the next step in the enclosure, for the definitive approval of a measure of common sense and humanity. Women are not rented, children are not bought: from words to deeds."
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Democratic Party, Elly Schlein, generated debate within her political force: although she defended surrogacy, she acknowledged that it is a "delicate and dense" issue that requires a deep debate within the formation.
Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, hand in hand with Silvio Berlusconi, last September. AFP Photo
Surrogacy: fines, imprisonment and recourse abroad
The bill is expected to reach the full Chamber of Deputies on June 19. It would then have to go to the Senate for final approval, which istaken for granted by the majority of the right.
Surrogacy is a crime in Italy because of a 2004 law that punishes with penalties ranging from three months to two years in prison and fines of between 600,1 and <> million euros to "who, in any way, performs, organizes or sponsors the marketing of gametes or embryos."
Without the right to adoption or assisted reproduction treatments, Italian same-sex couples often go to fertility clinics abroad to fulfill their dream of motherhood and paternity, through gamete donation or surrogacy.
"The urgency of the government is to attack rainbow families and their children: this is demonstrated by this frantic race by the Justice Commission for a crazy law. We will continue to oppose it," Democratic Party lawmaker Alessandro Zan said on Twitter.
For its part, Brothers of Italy (FDI), Meloni's party, has already branded this practice as "worse than pedophilia."
With information from agencies.