In a comprehensive address to ambassadors representing 184 nations with diplomatic ties to the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis fervently called for a worldwide prohibition on surrogate motherhood. He denounced the practice as “deplorable” and emphasized that unborn children should not be treated as commodities for trafficking.
The pontiff asserted that surrogacy represents a profound violation of both the dignity of women and the sanctity of children, exploiting the financial circumstances of surrogate mothers. He declared, “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” emphasizing the moral implications of such arrangements.
This is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out against surrogacy. In 2022, he referred to it as “inhuman,” highlighting the exploitation of predominantly economically disadvantaged women and the commodification of children.
The global landscape regarding surrogacy laws is diverse, with only a handful of countries and some U.S. states permitting commercial surrogacy. Others allow “altruistic” surrogacy, where no financial transactions take place, while several nations, especially in Europe, have outright banned the practice.
In his annual address to the diplomat corps, often regarded as the pontiff’s “state of the world” speech, Pope Francis underscored the threat posed by conflicts and divisions to global peace. Surrogacy found its place in this list, alongside issues such as the ongoing conflicts in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine, the immigration crisis, climate change, arms proliferation, antisemitism, the persecution of Christians, and artificial intelligence.
Reflecting on the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the pope emphasized that such conflicts inevitably lead to indiscriminate suffering among civilian populations, asserting that grave violations of international humanitarian law constitute war crimes. As Pope Francis addressed a myriad of global concerns, his call for a universal ban on surrogacy stood out as a moral imperative in the pursuit of a more just and humane world.