Pregnant woman (illustrative) .
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Knesset on Wednesday rejected by 42-36 a preliminary vote on a private member’s bill that would allow two people of the same sex to commission a surrogate to have a baby for them. This has been allowed in Israel since 1996 only for a heterosexual couples.
Homosexuals and lesbians who want a baby by surrogacy have to go abroad, a much more expensive procedure.
The bill was pushed by Yesh Atid MK and former health minister Yael German and other MKs and strongly opposed by her nemesis, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and his United Torah Judaism Party.
German said it is only fair that same-sex couples be able to have a baby by surrogacy, just like heterosexual couples. In addition, it was proposed that men would be able to receive ova donations in Israel and also to import human eggs from abroad to make it easier for them to have a baby here instead of going abroad.
The Yesh Atid MK suggested that in future, a cap be set on all payments for surrogacy at NIS 160,000 and the number of times that the would-be parents would be able to “commission” a baby from surrogates.
“Could one conceive of a law that gives rights only to immigrants from the former Soviet Union or deny rights to those from Ethiopia? The existing law that prevents same-sex couples to use a surrogate is the same thing,” German insisted. “The time has come to create equality. In a democracy, one can’t say that one specific group is excluded.”
But Litzman countered that he strongly opposes the bill.
“Did the former health minister deal with this when she was in my office for two years? Besides the German Committee she set up on reforming the health system [whose recommendations Litzman ditched when he became minister], she didn’t do anything. I have to repair all the damage done by the minister [during her tenure], and I don’t know where to start. Out of respect, I will not list all the things you destroyed in the health system. You just want to embarrass the government with this bill. You never dreamed that it would pass.”