Veteran actress' surrogate baby stirs controversy in Spain

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s ruling Socialist party said Thursday it will study toughening legislation covering surrogate pregnancies following the revelation that a 68-year-old popular Spanish television celebrity used a surrogate mother in Miami to have a baby.

Actress and presenter Ana Obregón grabbed the attention of the Spanish media and the country's political parties Wednesday when the socialite magazine ¡Hola! published a front-page photograph of her with a baby in arms, announcing she was the mother of a baby girl born by a surrogate mother.

Surrogate pregnancies are banned in Spain, although children from such pregnancies can be registered.

The news immediately triggered criticism from the leftist 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. Signaling it could be, the main opposition conservative Popular Party surprised many by announcing that it was open to debate legalizing such pregnancies if there's no payment involved.

Socialist party parliament spokesman Patxi López 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,” López said.

The fact that it concerned Obregón seemed to generate as much controversy as the issue of surrogacy itself.

Obregón, 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.