The revelation that a 68-year-old actress in Spain has given birth via an American surrogate has sparked a political outcry in Madrid.
Soap star Ana Obregon grabbed the attention of the Spanish media and the country’s political parties when the celebrity magazine ¡Hola! published a front-page photograph of her holding her new baby in Miami.
Now, the ruling Socialist party has said it will look into toughening legislation covering surrogate pregnancies after it was revealed Ms Obregon used a surrogate mother in Florida to carry the child.
Surrogate pregnancies are banned in Spain, although children from such pregnancies born abroad can be registered.
The news immediately triggered criticism from the left-wing coalition government headed by the Socialists.
Equality Minister Irene Montero, of the leftist United We Can coalition partner, said surrogate pregnancies were “a form of violence against women” while Socialist Treasury Minister María Jesús Montero described the practice as “exploitation of a woman’s body.”
The topic of surrogate pregnancies hasn’t been an issue in Spain for quite some time, but it may turn out to be given this is an election year.
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Signalling it could be, the main opposition conservative Popular Party surprised many by announcing that it was open to debate legalising surrogacy, provided payment was not involved.
Socialist party parliament spokesman Patxi Lopez said legislation must be tweaked to prevent such cases.
“We must turn around what we have at the moment to prevent anybody going or wanting to go abroad to seek ways of hiring a woman to have children and this must not allow them to be able on arriving in Spain register their children in total normalcy like absolutely nothing had happened,” Lopez said.
The fact that it concerned Obregon seemed to generate as much controversy as the issue of surrogacy itself.
Obregon, a biologist and once best known for her yearly start-of-summer magazine photo shoot in a new bikini, posted a message on her Instagram feed Wednesday saying, “A light full of love has shone on my darkness. I will never be alone again.”
Spanish media highlighted the fact that the former actress, who appeared in an episode of the A-Team television series, had recently lost a son to cancer.