Francis Urges Ban on Surrogacy, Calling It ‘Despicable’

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

An unborn child must not be “turned into an object of trafficking,” Francis said, adding. “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.” A child, he said, should “never the basis of a commercial contract,” and called for a global ban on surrogacy “to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis has in the past called surrogacy “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 engage in surrogacy abroad. Surrogacy is already illegal in Italy and several other European countries.

While the church opposes the practice, the Vatican’s office on church teaching has made clear that those children born from surrogacy can be baptized.That same office has in recent weeks, with Francis’ explicit approval, allowed the blessing of same-sex couples.

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

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

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