In a 45-minute address to Vatican-accredited diplomats, Pope Francis urged for a worldwide prohibition on surrogacy, describing the practice as “deplorable” and a serious violation of the dignity of both women and children, Reuters reported.
The Pope’s stance is likely to stir tension with gender-diverse groups, given that surrogacy is commonly embraced by gay or lesbian couples seeking parenthood.
Expressing his strong disapproval, the 87-year-old pontiff declared: “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.”
He further expressed hope for international efforts to universally outlaw this practice.
This statement follows Pope Francis’ recent historic decision to permit priests to bless same-sex couples, marking a shift in the Vatican’s approach to LGBTQ+ issues.
While there is a lack of comprehensive statistics on surrogacy births globally, ethical concerns have led to its illegality in numerous countries and some US states.
Critics caution against a potential “poverty bias,” highlighting the financial vulnerability of women who become surrogate mothers.
In Italy, where surrogacy is illegal, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition is pushing through legislation to extend the ban and penalise couples seeking surrogacy abroad. The Pope’s call for a universal ban aligns with Italy’s current legal stance on the matter.
Additionally, Pope Francis reiterated the Vatican’s condemnation of gender theory, describing it as “extremely dangerous” for erasing differences and claiming to establish equality.
This reaffirms the Vatican’s position against the notion that gender is more nuanced and fluid than traditional binary categories.
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