Pope Francis on Monday (January 8) called for a global ban on parenting via surrogacy, which is an arrangement in which a woman agrees to carry and give birth to a child on behalf of another person or couple. The woman is known as the surrogate and the other party is called the intended parent/s.
Pope called the practice of surrogacy “deplorable” and a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child.
Critics believe that his remarks will likely antagonize pro-LGBT+ groups since surrogacy is often used by gay or lesbian partners who want to have children.
This controversial remark comes after the Pope’s landmark decision to allow priests to bless same-sex couples.
“I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” he said.
“Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally,” he added.
The 87-year-old made his comments in a 45-minute address to Vatican-accredited diplomats. He slammed that 2024 had dawned at a time in which peace is “increasingly threatened, weakened and in some part lost” in his foreign policy address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.
Pope mentioned the ongoing wars — Russia-Ukraine war and Israel-Hamas war — and also migration, climate crises and the production of nuclear and conventional weapons.
He weighed in on the ills afflicting humanity and the increasing violation of international humanitarian law that allows them.
He also listed smaller-scale issues that he said were threats to peace and human dignity, including surrogacy. He said the life of the unborn child must be protected and not “suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking”.
He said, “I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs.”
He said there must be a global ban on surrogacy and said that a child is a gift and “never the basis of a commercial contract”. He asked everyone “to prohibit this practice universally”.
Stats related to surrogacy
The practice of surrogacy is illegal in many countries around the world, as well as in some US states due to ethical concerns. The practice has also been criticized because of the potential for a “poverty bias” against women who become surrogate mothers due to financial need.
But interest continues to grow as more women opt to postpone pregnancy until later in life when fertility wanes, and as more same-sex couples look for ways to start families when they can’t conceive on their own.
In Italy, the country that surrounds the Vatican, surrogacy is illegal, and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition ruling is pushing through parliament a law that would extend the existing ban to punish couples who go abroad to carry out the procedure.