Lawmakers in China have abandoned their plans to fully ban surrogacy within the country as a part of new legislation on family planning. Meanwhile, senior government health officials have vowed to continue to crackdown on the practice.

According to some officials, the reason for deciding against the full ban was fear that Chinese couples would seek “substandard infertility care and force some to seek expensive treatment overseas.” This, however, is precisely the reason why we at the CBC have long called for a full ban on the practice everywhere.

It seems contradictory for Chinese officials to recognize that there is something wrong with the practice and that it needs to be reigned in, while at the same time saying “well, if couples are going to do it, let’s provide them with an option to do it at home so we can control it.” This is precisely the purpose of legislation: to regulate and limit activities that are harmful and shouldn’t take place. As we’ve become fond of saying, if something is wrong, you don’t regulate it. You ban it.

As Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, and other neighboring countries of China have realized, the big business of surrogacy places vulnerable women within their countries at risk and creates a market for children and wombs. China—and the rest of the world—would do well to heed their example.

Image by johnd_22 via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director