Pope Francis made waves in a recent speech by calling for an international ban on surrogacy. The pontiff argued that the practice is “despicable” and commercializes pregnancy.
A ‘deplorable’ practice
“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,” the Pope declared in an annual speech to diplomats.
Commercialization of motherhood
According to Pope Francis, the practice of surrogate motherhood makes a child “an object of trafficking.” The pontiff emphasized that a “child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.”
Roman Catholics oppose surrogacy
Saint Joseph’s University explains that the Roman Catholic Church opposes surrogate motherhood “for the same reasons which lead one to reject heterologous artificial fertilization.” Namely, that “it is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person.”
Pope calls for global surrogacy ban
With these perspectives in mind, Pope Francis said surrogacy must be banned all over the world “to prohibit this practice universally.” The Pontiff’s comments sparked a heated debate between his religious followers and surrogacy advocates.
Advocates fight back
As reported by NPR, surrogacy advocate Sunshine Hanson, who has had three gestational surrogate pregnancies, expressed her frustrations with the Pope’s remarks. “It’s so disrespectful to the women who are doing this,” she said. “It’s a really special and unique relationship that I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been through it can really fathom.”
‘Uterus for rent’
This is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out against surrogate motherhood. Despite allowing same-sex surrogacy parents to have their children baptized, the Pontiff has previously called the practice “uterus for rent.”
The Ukraine debate
The conversation surrounding the morality of surrogacy has heated up recently as surrogate mothers in Ukraine continue to face wartime threats. Ukraine stands as one of the only countries permitting surrogacy for foreign individuals.
Catholic conference doubles down
At the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spokesperson Chieko Noguchi expanded on the Church’s reasoning. Noguchi stated that instead of resorting to surrogacy, “we should pray for, and work towards, a world that upholds the profound dignity of every person, at every stage and in every circumstance of life.”
Pope weighs in on key issues
Pope Francis spoke on several other topics, including migration, climate change, the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, and nuclear weaponry. He also urged the continuation of Iran nuclear talks in order to “ensure a safer future for all.”
Victims are real people
“Perhaps we need to realize more clearly that civilian victims are not ‘collateral damage’ but men and women, with names and surnames, who lost their lives,” Pope Francis stated. “They are children who are orphaned and deprived of their future.”
Pope condemns ‘gender theory’
Finally, the pontiff also took a jab at what he calls “gender theory,” which he believes is “extremely dangerous since it cancels differences in its claim to make everyone equal.”