By Layla Guest
A new bill is reportedly being considered by officials in Russia that could see single fathers and those raising children in same-sex or adoptive couples offered welfare payments currently reserved only for biological mothers.
Details of the proposal, apparently developed by Moscow’s Ministry of Labor and shared with business daily Kommersant on Wednesday, which gives men raising children from surrogate mothers the right to welfare, are said to have been signed off on Monday by a government commission.
The bill apparently aims to close a “legal gap” by granting rights to men “who are the sole parents of the second, third and subsequent children born to them after January 1, 2007, and the first child born after January 1, 2020, as a result of the use of surrogacy.”
Commenting on the scheme, Vladimir Gruzdev, chairman of the Board of the Association of Lawyers of Russia, said that “the prepared draft provides that if a man is recognized as the main parent of a child born from a surrogate mother, he will receive the right to financial support,” the chairman said.
“Maternity capital will also be paid if a father has married and his wife has adopted his children born by a surrogate mother,” Gruzdev added.
In June, the constitutional court sided in favor of a man in Tver, close to Moscow, who had appealed after his wife, who cares for his two children from a previous relationship, was denied financial support to help raise them.
At present, women are given additional state support measures “in connection with the social risks of motherhood, covering pregnancy and childbirth, raising children in a single-parent family and possible difficulties in finding employment.”
Russia has long been battling a demographic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, with a downturn in the number of children born in the 1990s. Moscow, however, has seen a 15% rise in births amid a pandemic baby-boom in the first five months of 2021, compared to the year before.
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