June 8, 2016 LISBON — President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal has vetoed a recently passed law legalizing altruistic surrogacy following an initiative by Portuguese youth calling for real public debate on medically assisted reproduction (MAP).
Despite the surrogacy provision’s rejection by the Commission of the Health, the Portuguese Assembly approved the bill on May 13th. Surrogacy was included as one provision in a much broader MAP bill with little fanfare in order to avoid public debate.
A group of Portuguese students and young professionals launched a successful petition to the president asking him to veto the law to allow a real debate in such an important issue. (Read about the petition here.)
“We are happy that the President vetoed the law on surrogacy, although we regret that he approved the document on medically assisted reproduction,” said Afonso Espregueira, a World Youth Alliance member and one of the founders of the youth initiative promoting a public debate on surrogacy. “We hope that this veto will open the path for a public debate in such an important issue and the Parliament ponders well the consequences of surrogacy. We hope that in this debate the best interest of the child will be in the center.”
President Rebelo de Sousa explained his veto by stating that the law on surrogacy did “not conform to the conditions set out by the National Council for Ethics for the Life Sciences,” which demanded tighter rules on dangerous practices such as surrogacy. (Learn more about WYA’s position on surrogacy by reading our white paper.)
World Youth Alliance welcomes the President’s veto and congratulates all the young people that were involved in the campaign promoting a public debate on the issue of surrogacy. WYA will support the efforts of our Portuguese members and allies as they advocate for policies that respect human dignity.