Social Activists Criticized Adoption Law Proposed by the Ministry of Health

News17 December 2018

Social activists and experts believe that the draft law, allowing child adoption only by relatives if a prospective adoptive parent is living with HIV, is discriminatory.

A few days ago AIDS.CENTER reported that the government officially introduced a bill to partially lift a ban on child adoption by people living with HIV or hepatitis C. The text of this bill was published online on 13 December 2018. It is expected that if it will be passed, adoption is allowed, “in case if a person whishing to adopt a child lives with them due to already formed family relations” and it “is in the child’s best interests”.

Today people living with HIV are deprived of the right to adopt children. Previously the Ministry of Health expressed its intention to raise an issue of removing the existing restrictions for HIV-positive patients within the framework of the state strategy in response to HIV. But the Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva unexpectedly turned against the doctors’ plans.

The bill introduced in the parliament is just a half-measure discriminating people living with HIV, the Patient Control NGO lawyer and activist Alexander Yezdakov is convinced. ‘The project that was written into the strategy and allowing HIV-positive people to receive custody or adopt children perished somewhere in the bowels of the Russian Health Ministry,’ the expert wrote on his Facebook page.

Svetlana Izambayeva, the head of the Kazan charity fund assisting HIV-positive people, is of the same opinion. ‘Today they propose allowing adoption only to relatives if they have already lived with the child in the same apartment,’ she points out. ‘As for people who can’t have their own children – and I know a great deal of families that want to adopt a child but they can’t do it because one of the parents is living with HIV – the law does not deal with them.’

AIDS.CENTER asked her to comment on the draft law and she agreed that the government’s initiative was unsatisfactory and discriminatory.

As the website reported earlier many experts had already criticized the current restrictions due to the fact that HIV-positive parents present no danger to a child, especially when they receive antiretroviral treatment regularly.

Moreover, the Constitutional Court of Russia ruled unconstitutional the Family Code provisions that do not permit people living with HIV to adopt children.

The Court’s decision was prompted by a situation with a woman from the Moscow region that had to litigate the ban on adoption and refers to a specific conflict highlighted in the plaintiff’s case.

The government was legally obligated to submit the bill to parliament to remove violations found by the Court. So did they but as a result due to a great deal of controversy instead of leaning in favor of a universal provision – to permit all HIV-positive parents or those who meet a number of certain obligations (treatment, etc.) to adopt children – they preferred a specific one. Unfortunately, this provision reflects just a particular case of the plaintiff from the Moscow region but does not change the situation with adoption for people living with HIV in general.

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