By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Russia will soon commence implementation of a law prohibiting foreigners from using its nationals as surrogate mothers, citing child trafficking.
Russian Speaker of the lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, while speaking on Sunday as part of activities marking the country’s Mother’s Day said Moscow will take all appropriate steps to stop foreigners from abusing surrogacy.
Paid surrogacy is legal in Russia, but the practice has been criticised by religious groups as commercializing the birth of children.
“Everything must be done to protect children by prohibiting foreigners from using the surrogacy service,” Volodin said on the Telegram messaging app. “We will make this decision at the beginning of December.”
He said some 45,000 babies born by surrogate mothers have been taken abroad in the past few years. “Child trafficking is unacceptable,” he added.
Russian lawmakers in May this year passed the bill nearly unanimously in its first reading.
If passed into law in the third reading, it will be reviewed by the upper house of parliament and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
The Ukrainian government has accused Russia of forcibly deporting more than 12,000 Ukrainian children since invading the country in February, while 440 have died in the war and hundreds are missing.
Russia denies forced deportations, saying the movement of people into Russia from Ukraine has been to protect civilians from Ukrainian soldiers.