Ministerial panel approves surrogacy for same-sex couples

Committee votes in favor 7-5 on bill aiming to enable surrogacy arrangements both in Israel and abroad.

A couple with their twin babies delivered by a surrogate mother. [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
A couple with their twin babies delivered by a surrogate mother. [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation gave the go ahead on Sunday to a bill that would enable same-sex couples to apply to surrogate mothers to have a baby for them.
At present, only heterosexual couples can make a surrogacy arrangement with a woman willing to bear their children.
Seven ministers – Health Minister Yael German, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat and Minister of Intelligence, Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz voted in favor. Sa’ar was acting chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for the session.
Five ministers – Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Pensioner Affairs Minister Uri Orbach, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver – voted against it. Ariel and Orbach, both from Bayit Yehudi, will apparently present an appeal to the cabinet, meaning it could actually take a long time for the proposed legislation to be passed.
During the discussion, Ariel said that since the bill – proposed by German – is a very sensitive matter and because the Justice and Interior Ministries have not yet agreed upon a formula for the bill, a final decision should be delayed for two weeks.
The Health, Justice and Labor and Social Welfare Ministries were asked to prepare an agreed-upon version; if not, the current version will be returned to the ministerial committee.
German of Yesh Atid argued that everyone has the right to be a parent. The bill relates to surrogacy arrangements both in Israel and abroad. She added that the vote is “an important step. The bill, raised today in the ministerial committee, contains the correct balance between the desire and right to be a parent and the need to protect the surrogate mother and her rights,” the health minister said.