ROME (Reuters) – Italy may grant an “amnesty” to people who had children through surrogacy following the passage of a law extending criminal penalties to those who seek surrogates abroad, Family Minister Eugenia Roccella said in a interview due to be aired on Friday.
Surrogacy has been banned in Italy since 2004, but Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition is pushing through parliament a bill that would also criminalise couples who use a surrogate in countries where it is legal.
“We’ll have to think about some kind of amnesty once we have the new law for the prosecution of [surrogacy], even for those who do it abroad, given that fortunately it is forbidden in Italy,” Roccella told Discovery Italia’s Nove TV channel.
The bill, under discussion in the lower house of parliament, would extend the surrogacy ban to punish couples who go abroad with jail terms of up to two years and fines of up 1 million euros ($1.09 million).
Extracts of Roccella’s interview were published by the ANSA news agency and other Italian media, and her remarks outraged LGBT rights campaigners.
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Rainbow Families President Alessia Crocini told ANSA it was offensive to “treat our children as … the result of an illegality, since these children were born abroad where surrogacy is legal.”
Crocini had said in March that 90% of Italians who choose surrogacy are heterosexual couples, but they mostly do so in secret, meaning the tougher ban would de facto affect only gay couples who cannot hide it.
Italian LGBT couples who want a baby have to go abroad because artificial insemination and adoption as well as surrogacy are not available for them domestically. Heterosexual couples, on the other hand, can adopt and resort to artificial insemination.
Meloni is a self-declared defender of traditional family values, and her government, saying it is applying a ruling by Italy’s top appeals court, has ordered city councils to stop registering the children of same-sex couples.
(Reporting by Federica Urso, editing by Alvise Armellini and Philippa Fletcher)
Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.
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