Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) is pushing for legislative changes to surrogacy laws for same-sex couples and singles. Under German’s proposal, same-sex couples and singles would have the same rights and regulations as do married heterosexual couples.
“Everyone has the right to parenthood and there should be no discrimination between a woman who wants to be a mother and a man who wants to be a father,” German told Haaretz.
Currently, gay couples and single women must go abroad to countries such as the United States and India in order to have a child through a surrogate. This process often costs tens of thousands of dollars.
German’s proposal, which would require a change in legislation, is likely to draw opposition from the Haredi parties in the Knesset as well as members of the government coalition, among them members of the Habayit Hayehudi party.
“I am also promoting civil unions,” German added. “I am aware that there is opposition and I will work in the appropriate frameworks for promoting this process.”
A vote on legalizing same-sex civil unions was initially scheduled for Sunday, but Justice Minister Tzipi Livni indefinitely postponed the vote in order to formulate a consensus draft of the law.
The Health Ministry also is pushing for major changes to organ donation laws. Every Israeli with a driver’s license would automatically be added to the country’s organ donor list unless they explicitly refuse, under an initiative by German and the National Transplant Center.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday a bill that would ban the sale of fatty goose and duck livers, even if the force-feeding procedure did not take place in Israel.
About a decade ago the High Court of Justice ruled force-feeding of geese and the production of goose liver illegal. If the bill becomes a law, it would become impossible to purchase fatty goose liver in Israel, which can today be found in fine restaurants.
The bill was proposed by MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) after he was inspired by the State of California, currently the only place in the world that not only bans force-feeding geese, but also the marketing of fatty goose liver.
“This is an exciting day for anyone with a conscience who knows that animals suffer just like us,” said Lipman after the bill was approved. “Israeli society had decided to ban force-feeding in order to put an end to this abuse, not in order relocate it.” Lipman added that the banning of marketing fatty liver also stems for the halakhic prohibition of causing cruelty to animals.
“Force-feeding is cruel,” said the committee chairwoman, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. “It’s abusing animals merely to serve a human desire,” she wrote in her Facebook profile shortly after the session was concluded. Livni also pointed out that in this case, geography shouldn’t play a role. “The struggle against animal cruelty doesn’t stop at the border.”
The only one to oppose the bill was Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir (Likud-Beiteinu). Committee members said he argued that the ministers supported the bill only to “find favor with the Tel Avivians.” The purpose of the bill is admirable, he later explained, but added that its current version does not take into account all of the implications.
The ban, he warned could, impact Israel’s agricultural exports and also bring harm to ritual Jewish slaughter in many countries that believe it causes great suffering to animals. “Due to cost-benefit considerations, we must carefully examine the implications of the proposal and give them expression in the legislative process,” he added.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced that spouses of parents to children conceived through a surrogacy process overseas will be accorded parenthood status without the previous need for a lengthy and complex adoption process.
Instead, a court order will suffice.
The AG’s statement followed several petitions to the Supreme Court by homosexual couples who demanded both fathers be registered as parents, though only one of them is the biological father through surrogate conception.
The new move by the AG is based on the Mor-Yosef Committee’s recommendations, which examined whether single men or same-sex couples should be allowed to conceive via a surrogate mother.
Weinstein ruled that pending the finalization of proper legislation, family courts will be able to issue a court order recognizing the spouse’s parenthood following a genetic test proving the parenthood of the biological father and other conditions to be further elaborated in future legislation.
Photos: Courtesy of awiderbridge.org
They have published the story firsthand as written by Yuval Kaduri-Altman himself, then told you about the issue of legalizing surrogacy for gays taking central stage in Israel thanks to a YouTube video and a campaign by Yuval and Liran. They are trying to raise money to have their baby in the US parallel to their fight to legalize surrogacy for gays in Israel. We also told you about the A-list Israeli celebrities who joined the fight, photographing themselves with the sign that reads “We Want them to have a baby too”
Yesterday the subject returned to the daily discussion and the homepages of the major news outlets in Israel, with Joan Rivers and the stars of ‘Fashion Police,’ who photographed themselves with the sign, “We want them to have a baby too.”
The wonderful gesture of Joan Rivers and her gang came after a request A Wider Bridge sent to ‘Fashion Police’ head writer and Joan’s close friend, Toni Tripoli, with links to the stories on A Wider Bridge’s website. “We’re so touched by the story, and the cast would be happy to do it,” Tripoli replied almost immediately. The sign was delivered to the set and the pictures were taken during the shooting of the show on Thursday.
In a personal message that was sent to the Israeli media with the photos, Arthur Slepian, CEO and founder of A Wider Bridge commented:
“Since we first heard about the story of Yuval and Liran A Wider Bridge has been trying to help in various ways, including increasing awareness about the problems of surrogacy for gay people in Israel. We’ve also been asking Jewish LGBT Americans to donate money for Yuval and Liran’s dream and cause.
When we saw the wonderful involvement of Israeli celebrities and thought about taking the subject a notch higher here in the U.S., Joan Rivers was one of the first names on our minds, because she has always been outspoken about her support for gay people and her love for Israel. On Thursday she proved to us that she’s not only talking, she’s also doing.”
“The Jewish LGBT community in America is proud of how Israel has evolved and how much progress the country has made regarding LGBT social issues and gender equality. The state of Israel is one of the main stewards of the future of the Jewish People, and continued progress on LGBT equality in Israel is important for Jewish people everywhere.”
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