Veteran actor Shabana Azmi is unhappy with the government’s proposal to ban surrogate parenthood in India.
“The anti-surrogacy bill has not been thought through. Under the guise of stopping exploitation of poor women it is retrograde in its definition of “family. What’s worse is that it impacts on the rights of the LGBT community and single parents. I’m pretty sure it will not be passed in Parliament, not in its present form at least,” says Azmi, who played a lesbian in Fire, 20 years ago, and will play a lesbian’s mother in the film, Signature Move.
Asked if adoption is not a viable option, Shabana shoots rues, “It is. But how and why should the State impose this as a no-choice? People must have the option of choice? ‘G’ for Government ‘G’ for God? Why don’t they concentrate on improving the plight of poor women? We lose as many women in one year due to pregnancy complications as having 400 airplane crashes a year! Governments would fall if we had so many crashes. But since it’s poor rural women who are dying, no attention is being paid to maternal mortality.”
Bisexual filmmaker Shonali Bose of Margarita With A Straw fame, also calls the government’s proposal absolutely outrageous. “While it’s true that “rent a womb” has exploited poor women, there are other ways to ensure this does not take this place and women are doing it of their own free will. This ban targets single parents and gay people and privileges heterosexual married couples. I feel everyone has the right to be a parent, and marriage should play no part in this decision.”