Pope Francis calls for global ban on surrogacy | ET REALITY

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Pope Francis on Monday called surrogacy a “despicable” practice that should be universally banned for its “commercialization” of pregnancy, including the practice amid wars, terrorism and other threats to peace and humanity in an annual address to ambassadors. .

An unborn child should not be “turned into an object of trafficking,” Francisco said. And he added: “I consider the practice of so-called surrogacy to be despicable, which represents a serious violation of the dignity of women and children, based on the exploitation of situations of material needs of the mother.” A child, he said, should never be “the basis of a commercial contract” and called for a global ban on surrogacy “to ban this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already illegal in Italy and compensated surrogacy is also illegal or restricted in much of Europe. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal and several other countries allow surrogacy under certain conditions. Paid surrogacy is legal in some European nations, including Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.

Surrogates in the United States and Canada are often hired by Europeans, including same-sex couples, seeking to have children, although some American states have banned the practice.

Francis, a constant critic of the corrosive effects of consumerism on humanity, is deeply wary of the profit motive deforming the traditional creation of life. While Francis has generally avoided culture wars over issues of life and homosexuality to emphasize priorities such as caring for immigrants and the poor, he has always defended the Church’s teachings on these issues and has maintained absolute opposition to surrogacy and the abortion. He has equated abortion with “hiring a hitman to solve a problem.”

He also defends Catholic teaching in his opposition to in vitro fertilization, for a variety of theological and ethical reasons, including the destruction of unwanted embryos created in the process and a more general separation of the act of reproduction from the church’s conception of human love.

In June 2022, Francisco he told a delegation of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations of Europe that surrogacy was an “inhumane and increasingly widespread practice” in which “women, almost always poor, are exploited” and children “treated as merchandise.”

In 2023, he told another group that “while it is appropriate” to use “the most advanced technologies and scientific knowledge” to enhance legitimate desires to conceive, “it is wrong to create test tube embryos and then suppress them, trade in gametes and resort to to the practice of surrogacy.”

In the past he has also called surrogacy a “uterus for rent,” a term often used by Italy’s right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who also opposes the practice and who has also supported the criminalization of Italians who practice it. surrogacy abroad.

In May, Francisco and Meloni appeared on stage together in Rome for a conference on the rise of Italy’s low birth rate. Meloni said it was essential to make clear that “birth is not for sale, the womb is not for rent and children are not over-the-counter products that one can choose and then perhaps return.”

In March, Eugenia Roccella, Italy’s minister for equal opportunities and the family, promised to enact a law that would crack down on “uterus for rent” in Italy and by Italians abroad.

While the Church opposes surrogacy, the Vatican office for church teaching has made it clear that children born through surrogacy can be baptized. He made that position clear in a recent statement clarifying that transgender people could be baptized. That same office has allowed in recent weeks, with the explicit approval of Francis, the blessing for same-sex couples.

But Francis made clear that he sees modern interpretations of gender that erode the biological separation between men and women as a threat to human dignity on par with humanitarian disasters, calling gender theory “extremely dangerous as it nullifies the differences in their claim to make everyone equal.” .”

The pope’s comment came during an annual foreign policy address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See that traditionally serves as a lament for all the world’s conflicts and injustices. There was a lot of material to work with this year, as he called the new year a time when peace was “increasingly threatened, weakened and partly lost.”

While Francis was once reluctant to name Russia as the aggressor in his war with Ukraine, he specifically mentioned the “large-scale war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine” among his most direct comments yet on the conflict.

Francis reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as well as in Lebanon, and lamented the “strong Israeli military response” that had killed thousands of people and caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and reaffirmed his support for a peace solution. two states. He also condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel “and all cases of terrorism and extremism” and called for the release of the hostages.

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