Italy’s Salvini demands ten-year jail sentences for surrogacy

The parliament is currently debating a bill that would make the practice a “universal crime”

The right-wing Italian League Party led by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is seeking to double the penalties for those using surrogate mothers abroad, in an amendment to a bill proposed by the ruling Brothers of Italy party that would make surrogacy a “universal crime.”

Surrogacy has been illegal in Italy since 2004, with in vitro fertilization only available to heterosexual couples. It is currently punishable by jail and a substantial fine.

Last year, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni vowed to expand the ban by criminalizing couples who travel overseas to have the procedure done in countries where it is legal. The bill, which was put forward by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, was backed by the lower house of parliament and is now being debated in the Senate. The new legislation would increase the fine from €600,000 to €1 million ($1,070,000), and the jail term from three months to two years.

However, the League party – which is in coalition with the Brothers of Italy – presented an amendment to the Senate Justice Commission proposing an increase to the maximum prison sentence to ten years, and the fine to €2 million. According to a report published by L’Espresso on Saturday, the party has also called for “the punishment of public officials who record children born from surrogacy in the civil status.”

Salvini has long been a critic of surrogacy, previously comparing surrogate mothers to an “ATM-woman… that produces babies,” and pledging to fight “this barbarous and inhumane practice.” He reiterated his position on Tuesday, claiming that surrogacy amounts to “buying children.”

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“There is the law that will outlaw renting uteruses not only in Italy, as is already the case, but also internationally, and therefore the purchase of children and women’s bodies, the mere thought of which is horrible,” he told Radio 24, arguing that children “must be adopted and come into the world if there is a mother and a father.”

Meloni has defended the proposed law, arguing that the practice treats children like ‘supermarket products’. Critics consider the legislation an attack on the LGBTQ community.

“No one can convince me that it is an act of freedom to rent one’s womb, no one can convince me that it is an act of love to consider children as an over-the-counter product in a supermarket,” she said earlier this year, urging the parliament to pass the bill.

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