He italian parliament took the first step today penalize the practice of surrogate motherhood abroad, by amending a bill proposed by the right-wing coalition that has governed the country since last October. The Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies approved this Wednesday a series of amendments to a bill approved by the government of the far-right Giorgia Meloni in February and that seeks to make this practice “a universal crime“.

Surrogate motherhood is a crime in Italy by a 2004 law that punishes with penalties of imprisonment of up to two years and fines of up to one million euros to “whoever, in any way, carries out, organizes or sponsors the commercialization of gametes or embryos”. However, the new bill wants to penalize those who resort to this reproductive practice also outside the Italian borders.

The amendment approved today prohibits “Italian citizens” from using “surrogate wombs” also abroad “in order to hinder any practice that could be configured as commercial child trafficking.” This is the first parliamentary “yes” to the project Meloni’s bill, which is expected to reach the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies on June 19 and then go to the Senate for final approval, which is taken for granted by the majority of the right.

Opposition parties, such as the social democratic Democratic Party (PD) or the populist 5 Star Movement, have voted against it, alleging that the project is contrary to the Constitution and does not take children into account, among other justifications. The Minister for the Family, Birth and Equal Opportunities, Eugenia Roccella, defended today that the Government’s position is “clear and absolutely condemns all forms of surrogate motherhood for being harmful to the dignity of women and the rights of children”.

The PD secretary, Elly Schlein, has sparked debate within her party by defend surrogate motherhoodalthough acknowledging that it is a “delicate and dense” subject that requires an in-depth debate within the formation.