Russian lawmakers voted on Tuesday to bar foreigners from using the services of Russian surrogate mothers as Moscow’s relations with Western countries continue to sour over its war in Ukraine.
Paid surrogacy is legal in Russia but the practice has been criticized by religious groups for commercializing the birth of children.
One of the co-authors of the bill, which was passed nearly unanimously in its first reading, said such legislation was needed to keep children born in Russia out of harm’s way.
At the moment, said Vasily Piskaryov, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, “we cannot follow the fate of one single baby.”
He told parliament: “We don’t know who their parents are, their so-called ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, and why they are purchasing a baby.”
Piskaryov said that some 40,000 babies born to surrogate mothers in Russia had left the country to be raised by foreigners.
“Why should we spend our funds on resolving the demographic problems of other countries?” he said, adding that babies born to surrogate mothers in Russia should automatically be given Russian citizenship “so we can follow their fate.”
The bill still needs to undergo two more readings, be reviewed by the upper house of parliament and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
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