Unless you have personal experience of it, surrogacy may well be something you've not thought much about outwith Kim Kardashian-West, Tom Daley, and season 5 of Friends.
In Scotland, surrogacy is legal but cannot be advertised or paid for (although expenses can be offered). The woman who gives birth automatically becomes the legal parent of the child and, if they are married, their spouse becomes the other legal parent. If surrogacy isn't an issue you've given much attention to before, just reading those two sentences have probably sparked questions in your head - what counts as expenses? What happens if someone changes their minds? What are the legal rights of everyone involved?
Then there are broader questions to consider. Should women be able to charge for reproductive labour? Does anyone have the right to have a child? How do we balance bodily autonomy with protection from exploitation?
The Scottish Law Commission and the Law Commission of England and Wales are currently running a consultation on technical changes to the law surrounding surrogate pregnancy and establishing parenthood. The consultation doesn't propose to examine the wider ethical and moral questions that surround surrogacy.
While we recognise that there is no single feminist position on surrogacy, we believe that feminist arguments have been excluded altogether from the consultation process. So rather than responding in detail to the specific questions in the consultation, we're planning on raising these concerns with the Commissions. We are keen to find out what people in Scotland think about surrogacy and some of the issues involved.
We've created a short survey (most people complete it in less than 5 minutes) where you can let us know your views on certain aspects of surrogacy law, and also space for any comments you might like to leave on the general issue of surrogacy. The consultation is running on a very short timescale, so the deadline for the survey is midnight on 16th September 2019.
‘Knowing Me; Knowing You: Is this the best we can do for cohabiting couples? Engender has responded to the Scottish Law Commission's consultation on reforms to the law governing cohabitation in Scotland. This blog, from Engender's Policy and Parliamentary Manager Eilidh Dickson, sets out why equality in cohabitation is a feminist issue.
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