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Francis Urges Ban on Surrogacy, Calling It ‘Despicable’

The pope continued his denunciation of the practice, which is already prohibited in Italy and certain other European nations, by declaring that an unborn child must not be “turned into an object of trafficking.” 

*Pope Francis denounces surrogacy as an Act of Exploitation*  

In a recent annual address to ambassadors, Pope Francis referred to surrogacy as a “deplorable” practice and demanded a worldwide ban on the commercialization of pregnancy in light of terrorism, violence, and other threats to humanity and peace. He stressed that a foetus should never be used as a commodity and expressed his distaste for the surrogacy sector, which he feels diminishes the dignity of women and children by exploiting their basic needs. Pope Francis emphasised that a kid should never be the basis of a business arrangement and called for a worldwide ban on surrogacy 

Surrogacy is already prohibited in Italy, and much of Europe forbids or restricts compensated surrogacy. Ukraine, Russia, and certain other European countries have legalised commercial surrogacy, while certain countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, and Portugal allow surrogacy under specific circumstances. Though certain US states have made the practice illegal, the US and Canada frequently use surrogates, including same-sex couples, to carry out childbearing duties.  

*Unwavering Opposition to Assisted Reproductive Technologies held by the Pope*  

The pope, who has been critical of the effects of materialism on society, is particularly worried that the quest of profit may corrupt the established order of things. He has continuously opposed procedures like surrogacy and abortion, even though he has traditionally supported causes like caring for the impoverished and migrants. About abortion, he compared it to “hiring a hitman to solve a problem.” For many years, the Catholic Church has condemned surrogacy for a variety of moral and religious grounds. Francis frequently talks about his opinions on the subject, claiming that affluent countries force their ideals on customs and cultures that may not necessarily share them.  

*Explaining the Pope’s Favouritism for Same-Sex Partnerships*  

Pope Francis gave some positive advice to same-sex couples a few weeks ago; some of them support surrogacy. The Church emphasised that the blessings were not “approval” or “support for their lifestyle,” but rather merely a sign of pastoral closeness. In June 2022, Francis referred to surrogacy as a “dehumanising and quickly increasing practise”, alleging that it often treats children like commodities and exploits women, especially those from low-income backgrounds.  

*Assisted Reproduction Technologies’ Ethical Dilemma*  

While it is “appropriate” to use cutting-edge scientific knowledge and tools to support legitimate aspirations for conception, Pope Francis stated in 2023 that trading or generating embryos in test tubes and then altering them is immoral and encourages the surrogacy industry. In the past, he has described surrogacy as “renting a womb,” a phrase that right-wing Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni frequently uses to criticise the practice and advocate for criminalising Italians who engage in surrogacy overseas. 

*Francis and Sushri Meloni Discuss Rome’s Surrogacy Problems*  

Francis and Sushri Meloni discussed raising Italy’s low birth rate on a platform they shared in Rome in May. Meloni underlined how important it is to make it clear that “children are not over-the-counter products that you can choose and maybe return, and it’s not about selling births, not about renting wombs.” 

*Italy’s Position Against Abuse of “Rent-a-Womb”*  

Eugenia Roksel, Italy’s Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities, pledged in March to propose legislation to stop Italians who participate in “rent-a-womb” activities from being exploited, both domestically and overseas. Sushri Meloni’s political party member Federico Mollicone once said on television that surrogacy is a crime “worse than paedophilia.” Fabio Rampelli, a party member from another group, claimed on Facebook that surrogacy is a technique open solely to “rich same-sex couples,” converting women into “machines for producing babies for compensation.” 

*Ethical Concerns of the Church Regarding Assisted Reproductive Technologies*  

The Church also opposes in vitro fertilisation, even for married couples of the same sex, claiming that the idea that procreation is a holy partnership between a man and a woman and the annihilation of unwanted embryos fundamentally detract from the sanctity of human reproduction. It has been made clear by the Church that surrogate children are eligible for baptism. The Vatican’s division for education has acknowledged that baptism is an option for transgender people in a recent statement. Though he made it clear that contemporary gender theories that view biological variations between men and women as threats to humanity are “extremely dangerous” because they negate intrinsic distinctions, Francis has allowed blessings for same-sex couples. 

*Pope laments global injustices and struggles in his annual address*  

The Pope’s remarks struck a chord with yearly foreign policy speeches, which customarily function as a mourning for world conflicts and injustices. His words, which this year were especially devastating, characterised the peace as “rapidly diminishing, weakened, and to some extent lost.” Even while Francis was first hesitant to characterise Russia’s confrontation with Ukraine as aggressive, he recently made some of his toughest remarks to date when he spoke of a “large-scale war initiated by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.” 

*Francis Supports a Two-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Condemns Violence*  

Francis expressed concern at the “strong Israeli military response,” which led to hundreds of casualties and a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, and repeated his call for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza and Lebanon. Strongly endorsing a two-state solution, he denounced “every act of terrorism and violence.” 

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