During the discussion on the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, Opposition MPs suggested that the government consider including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people (LGBTQ), live-in couples, and single parents in the bill’s ambit.
“This law excludes many people, rather than it includes,” Congress member Karti P Chidambaram, who opened the debate on the Bill, said.
The Bill seeks to regulate and supervise Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and assisted reproductive technology banks, prevent misuse, and promote safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services.
Karti went on to say: “When I have given you so many instances of unconventional births and unconventional unions in our Hindu epics, this law only allows married people to have access to this technology. It does not allow LGBTQ people to have access to this technology. It does not allow single men to have access to this technology.”
Karti described the bill as “patriarchal” and “discriminatory.”
“This law does not take into account the new realities of India. Of course, these new realities are not new realities. These were there in our ancient scriptures. Those unions which were always there, were suppressed by the colonial mentality. These unions must also be given access to this technology. The LGBTQ population, live-in couples, and single men must also have access to this technology if they want so,” said Karti, who represents Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu.
BSP’s Sangeeta Azad and TMC’s Dastidar also raised the issue of exclusion of single parents and the LGTBQ community from using this procedure.
“The bill only allows use of ART by heterosexual married couples and women above the age of marriage but it excludes single men, homosexual couples and LGBTQ people and couples from availing the ART. This is in violation of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the right to privacy determined by the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy case,” according to Azad.
“The major exclusion here is exclusion of single parents, transgenders and LGBT couples… They also have a right to become parents…,” Dastidar said.
NCP’s Supriya Sule said that because of adoption rules of 2017, single men cannot adopt a girl and that is why they can not avail this bill’s benefits.
“Besides the couples who want children, there is a cross-section of single people in this country today who want to have children, especially the LGBTQ community and single fathers… Because of the 2017 adoption rule, single men cannot adopt a girl and because they can not have this, they can not avail this Bill. I think this is something we as a society need to introspect on,” Nationalist Congress Party leader said.
Biju Janata Dal’s Anubhav Mohanty also said the bill discriminates against the LGBTQ community.
Lok Sabha passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020, after detailed discussions from both sides of the political aisle Wednesday.