The Reign Of Patriarchy
Kashmira Bibi has proved that it is not possible for the State to understand the Market in a proper manner! Kashmira Bibi is a poor lady from eastern Indian Province of West Bengal who had rented her womb for INR 800,000. She went missing after receiving half of that amount. Later, people came to know that she had undergone an abortion by a quack!
Incidentally, the Government of India approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2020 in the Parliament (on February 19) just before Kashmira Bibi’s crime came to the surface. Since introducing the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 in the Parliament (in 2016), the Government had amended the Bill many a times, and also added some new clauses to it. However, there was no provision in the Bill that could have saved the poor lady from the crisis. The Indian parliamentarians are still not ready to legalise the Surrogacy Market! They have clearly mentioned in the Bill that only close relatives could lend their wombs to childless couples.
The problem is that the Indian women have never enjoyed the Right to lend their wombs as per their choice. Unfortunately, the male members of the family make a final decision in this regard. Well, it is quite natural in a Patriarchal Society. If women do not have any option to rent their wombs, then the issue of their Freedom to make the decision becomes inconsequential. The Government of India is not ready to allow women to rent their wombs because the Political Society is still highly influenced by the Patriarchal norms. Therefore, the Government has refused to provide women with the Right on their own bodies! Like the Indian Society, the Government, too, believes that women are the property of men. No wonder, concept of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 is deeply rooted in that argument. As a result, legal arrangements have been made to keep the market away from women, and to keep the women away from market.
It is difficult to predict whether the Kashmira Bibis would enjoy any advantage if the Government opened the market of Commercial Surrogacy. The real meaning of opening a market is to make all the financial transactions related to it legal. Moreover, it would require a proper infrastructure… and, the Government would also have to ensure Justice for those women who are interested in renting their wombs. In that case, women, like Kashmira Bibi, would have right information about Surrogacy.
Surrogacy in India
As the Government of India is following the Patriarchal norms, Kashmira Bibis have no other option, but to undergo risky abortions as late as during the 26th week of pregnancy. The Government could also have changed the mindset of the society by legalising the Surrogacy Market. Most importantly, quacks would not get the opportunity to play with women’s lives!
Unfortunately, the Indian policy-makers are only interested in Family Honour. Commercial Surrogacy would certainly be there in India, but it would be controlled by the black marketeers… and, Kashmira Bibis would have to pay the price!
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