Three new surrogacy cases at the ECtHR

31a550a8c321ae24919a1faf4bfbe8168276c438The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is apparently intending to assume a rather unbecoming role as door-opener for the highly controversial practice of surrogacy parenthood, attempting to force all European countries into accepting what is actually a new form of slave trade.

Through the decisions of Labassée v. France and Menesson v. France the Court has obliged France to set aside its own ordre public (which defines as a child’s mother the woman who has given birth to it) and legally recognize the personal status of children born by surrogate mothers in the USA.

Even more absurdly, in the case of Paradiso and Campanelli, Italy was condemned for having removed from the custody of an infertile couple a child that this couple had purchased from a Russian fertility clinic for 45.000 Euro, even though there was no genetic relationship at all between the child and the wannabe “parents”.

Even the controversial “Charlie Hebdo” got it right on surrogacy: it “is two parents and one (female) slave”. However, the ECtHR does not seem to mind…

In both cases, the Court’s judgments were built on the rather spurious pretension that the decision was made “in the interest of the children”, thus cleverly avoiding any critical discussion of the practice of surrogacy itself. The Court preferred not to waste any thought about the exploitation of (mostly poor and vulnerable) women in India, Russia, Ukraine, or other countries, nor about the right of children – set forth in the UN Children’s Rights Convention – to know, and grow up with, its own biological parents. And of course, it turned a blind eye that through accepting surrogacy, it actually accepts the trade of human flesh, as became evident in the Paradiso case.

Apparently with the purpose of providing further, and even more radical “guidance” on surrogacy, that the Court has hand-picked three new cases from the pile of more than 60.000 applications it receives each year:

Laborie and Others v. France (no. 44024/13) involves a French couple who have obtained a twins from a surrogate mother in Ukraine, together with a birth certificate in which Mrs. Laborie and her partner were indicated as the (biological) parents. However, when examining the file, the French consulate in Kiev foound out that Mrs. Laborie didn’t even know the birthday of the twins whose mother she pretended to be.

Foulon v. France (no. 9063/14) is the case of a single man who wanted to have a child. He bought it from an Indian surrogacy mother, who is also the genetic mother of his child. In return for a payment of 1.300 Euros, the woman, who has never met Mr. Foulon personally, renounced to all her rights as a mother. This is what we might call a “low-cost” version of child trafficking. Predictably, the Court will find – like it did in Menesson, Labassée, and Paradiso, that “the interests of the child” warrant the legal recognition of this agreement.

Bouvet v. France (no. 10410/14): this case is similar to Foulon, but it involves a gay couple, thus offering for the Court an occasion to promote (probably on the basis of a spurious “anti-discrimination” claim) the idea that same-sex couples should have a right to use the services of Indian surrogacy mothers to construct their “rainbow families”. If other couples can have children that way, homosexuals must have the same possibility…

As it appears, providing the appearance of legitimacy to controversial “reproductive choices”, which actually implies the recognition of a “right to a child” for whoever is willing to pay for it (with the price, in the Foulon case, being just 1.300 Euro),  appears to have a high priority at the Human Rights Court, whose president, Dean Spielmann, hinted as much in his speech at the inauguration of the Court’s current working year.


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