Opinion: India’s Proposed Commercial Surrogacy Ban Is an Assault on Women’s Rights

November 8, 2019

(Undark) – India’s commercial surrogacy industry, once a $400 million-a-year business, may now be on the verge of shutting down. In July, the Indian Parliament’s lower house, Lok Sabha, passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, a piece of legislation that would completely ban commercial surrogacy and sharply limit altruistic surrogacy. The bill is now pending before the upper house of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and is on its way to become the law of the land. The Indian government is touting the bill as a progressive measure meant to curtail the potentially exploitative practice of “baby outsourcing.” But, as a legal development researcher and a proponent of women’s rights, I see the sweeping ban as something much more regressive: It essentially strips women of autonomy over our own bodies and, in the process, violates our basic civil and fundamental rights.