Thursday, March 24, 2016

Personal Message: Hope in the midst of despair

On the 22nd of March two bombs exploded at Zaventem Brussels National Airport and one bomb at the Maalbeek station. At this moment, more than 30 people have been killed and many are wounded. The terrible images of the blasts, the images of people running for their lives as well as terrifying eye witness accounts are all imprinted on our minds. 

My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the people killed in the explosions and with the wounded. But also with the people who were not wounded but are in a shock. May God’s healing hand be on them. In the European Parliament, people were crying. Some of them usually take the underground to Maalbeek which is the underground station closest to the Parliament. There was a pervasive feeling of anger and fear. People were asking questions: “Why did this happen?” and “why can people be so evil to each other?”

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Health and Social Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe says "NO" to surrogacy

On the 15th of March, a large demonstration took place in Paris against surrogacy. The protests took place at the entrance of the building where the Health and Social Affairs Committee (SOC) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) convened to discuss a controversial report on surrogacy. A crowd of a few hundreds of people had gathered outside the building where the meeting was taking place in Paris. Later, a few meters away, feminists from the feminist group Collectif pour le Respect de la Personne (CORP) also organized a demonstration that called the Council of Europe to say NO to all forms of surrogacy and to respect the rights of women and children. Lesbians carried a banner with the slogan “no surrogacy for heterosexuals, nor for homosexuals”.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New evidence of the conflict of interest of the rapporteur of the PACE report in surrogacy

Petra De Sutter collaborates directly with a commercial surrogacy clinic in India

On the 15th of March, the Social Affairs and Health Committee (SOC) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will convene again to vote and discuss on the Report: “Human rights and ethical issues related to surrogacy”. As we saw in a previous post on my blog, the author of this report, Mrs Petra De Sutter, a Belgian parliamentarian and the head of the Department for Reproductive Medicine at the University Hospital of Ghent (a country where surrogacy is legal) is campaigning for creating a legal framework on surrogacy for surrogacy activities she is conducting herself. Despite the fact that these facts have long ago been made public, Mrs De Sutter still remains the rapporteur for this report as an attempt to have a secret vote on the suspicion of conflict of interest failed to gather the necessary majority at SOC. 

New information that was revealed in a Huffington post published article, showed that the conflict of interest is even worse. On the website of  “Seeds of Innocence”, a clinic in India that practices commercial surrogacy (which is allowed in India), openly boasts about its collaboration with De Sutter. Mrs De Sutter was also present in the inauguration of this clinic where a memorandum of cooperation was signed with the University of Ghent. This newly revealed information confirms our earlier suspicions and raises serious doubts on Mrs De Sutter’s ability to act as an impartial rapporteur and the ethical integrity of the Council of Europe is more and more on stake.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Should surrogacy be banned?

A short review of the ethical and human rights issues related to surrogacy


On the 2nd and the 3rd of May the organization ‘Men having Babies’ (MHB) organized a controversial meeting in Brussels. MHB is an LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual and Intersex) friendly organization that wants to enable gay couples to have children. Of course this is naturally impossible, so they use the services of surrogate mothers who carry the child of one of the men. Simply by browsing on their website you can see that for a bit more than 100000 US dollars you can proceed with 'obtaining' your own child. Usually these processes take place in developing countries like India.

Lately, many groups and movements (especially those that are LGBTI related) are pushing for a legal framework that allows and facilitates surrogacy. For example, the rapporteur on a report on surrogacy by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE); someone who supposedly has to investigate the ethical and human rights issues related to surrogacy, is a transgender person who is involved in cross-border surrogacy in Belgium and is currently involved in commercial surrogacy in India.[1]

In the meantime, the majority of the European Parliament condemns all forms of surrogacy in two reports on human rights. Christian politicians do agree to ban commercial surrogacy, but are divided on the issue of 'altruistic' surrogacy (where the mother agrees to gestate a child for intended parents without being compensated monetarily in any way).

 Read here the article