Lawmakers in Moscow backed legislation Thursday banning foreigners from using Russian surrogate mothers, a move the parliament’s speaker said would protect vulnerable children.
It is just the latest in a string of measures Russia has taken recently to distance society from the West, a trend that has intensified since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February.
Members of Russia’s Kremlin-friendly lower house of parliament backed the bill in its second and third readings Thursday, according to its website.
“This will prevent the trafficking of our children, protect babies from situations where they fall into same-sex couples or become victims of crimes, including organ sales,” the speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on social media.
The bill still has to be agreed by the upper house of parliament and signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin before entering into law.
Paid surrogacy is legal in Russia but the practice for foreigners has come under fire from conservative groups and the Orthodox church. There have been complaints women and children were being exploited by wealthy foreigners.
Under the terms of the proposed legislation, Russian couples and any Russian married to a foreigner will still be able to access surrogacy.
It also stipulates that children born to Russian surrogate mothers will automatically be granted Russian citizenship.