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Pope calls for ban on surrogacy, calling it ‘based on exploitation’

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Pope Francis has called for a universal ban on surrogacy, calling the practice “deplorable” in a speech in Vatican City on Monday.

“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 said.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.”

Pope Francis said that he hopes that the international community will make efforts to “prohibit this practice universally.”

“At every moment of its existence, human life must be preserved and defended,” he added.

The Catholic Church has long opposed surrogacy as well in vitro fertilization because, it said, it depersonalizes conception and disposes of some embryos, which it argues is the equivalent to abortion.

Surrogacy is illegal in Italy and several other countries, while in others, like the United Kingdom, surrogacy is legal but restricted, and commercial surrogacy is outlawed. Surrogacy laws vary from state to state in the United States.

Surrogacy provides a path to parenthood for those who have struggled to conceive and same-sex couples and individuals who are unable to conceive on their own.

Though there have been longstanding ethical concerns around surrogacy, including whether the practice is exploitative.

The pontiff has faced opponents among the more traditionalist wing of the church over some of his approaches to contemporary issues, including an openness to giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, his pastoral welcome to LGBTQ people, and his focus on migrants and the climate crisis.

Last month, Pope Francis formally permitted Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples, in a significant shift in the church’s approach to LGBTQ+ people. The blessings may be carried out providing they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies, nor at the same time as a civil union, according to a Vatican document approved by the pope.

He has, however, taken a strong line on abortion, which he has likened to hiring “a hitman to solve a problem,” and surrogacy. In 2022, Pope Francis said that surrogacy was an “inhuman and increasingly widespread practice of the ‘rented uterus’, in which women, almost always poor women, are exploited and children treated as commodities.”

In his address Monday, Francis also said he noted “with regret, especially in the West, the continued spread of a culture of death, which in the name of a false compassion discards children, the elderly and the sick.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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