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Pope Francis Pushes For Global Ban On Surrogacy | Details

Pope Francis Pushes For Global Ban On Surrogacy | Details

Pope Francis has called for a universal ban on surrogacy, saying the practice of a woman carrying another person’s child was ‘deplorable’.

In his New Year’s address to diplomats at the Vatican on Monday, January 8, 2024, the 87-year-old suggested that surrogacy is “based on the exploitation” of mothers’ material needs.

According to CNN and Reuters, pope Francis stated that surrogate motherhood represented a grave violation of the mother and child and urged the international community to prohibit the practice.

The pope also said a child’s life should not be “suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking” per the Associated Press. (As noted by Reuters, surrogacy is illegal in a number of countries, including Italy.)

In his words:

“The path to peace calls for respect for life. This began with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking.

In this regard, 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.

A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract. Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Following his speech, some surrogacy advocates expressed concerns about his comments.

Stephanie Levich, founder of Family Match Consulting, tells PEOPLE she deeply respects the pontiff but finds his comments “disappointing and shortsighted.”

“For me, this is a matter of personal autonomy and choice and women having the ability to make decisions for themselves and their families,”

Levich says.

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The Catholic Church has long opposed both surrogacy and in vitro fertilization due to their disposal of embryos.

But for some, surrogacy can be “the only option available to start a family,” Brooke Kimbrough, CEO of Roots Surrogacy, tells PEOPLE.

“Surrogacy is relied heavily upon for people who have no other options and really really want to grow their family,” she says.

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Among the pope’s concerns is the “commercialization” of pregnancy, but the idea of having a contract, Kimbrough says, is meant “to protect the parents, the surrogate and eventually the baby.”

Levich also says a significant amount of vetting is done as part of a reputable surrogacy process.

A global ban on surrogacy would likely lead to “an outcry from people all across the globe who desire to be parents,” Levich says.

A decision like that “could be dangerous,” she adds, noting that some people would like “seek to pursue it that could potentially be illegal and less safe” if ethical surrogacy wasn’t allowed.

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“By removing things like surrogacy, it would impact a large, large demographic,” she adds.

Kimbrough believes the Catholic church does not understand how people actually feel about surrogacy, which many see as a “gift.”

The “vast majority of surrogacy cases” result in “incredible and beautiful relationships,” Levich says. “I don’t know how something like that could be considered to be exploitative.”

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