Holy See hosts United Nations panel to discuss abolishing surrogacy


Last week, the Vatican organized a meeting at the United Nations to discuss the abolition of surrogacy.

According to Catholic News Agency, the meeting, titled, “At What Price? Towards the Abolition of Surrogacy: Preventing the Exploitation and Commodification of Women and Children,” discussed the exploitation rampant within the surrogacy industry, calling for a need to regulate and eventually eradicate it altogether. The meeting was held at the 56th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, was organized by the Holy See mission, and was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Italy to the United Nations and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Gabriella Gambino, Under-Secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, moderated the discussion during the event. Gambino said that the meeting’s purpose was “to reflect on the urgency of an international response to the phenomenon of surrogacy,” noting particularly that “procreative tourism…is still the cause of the transnational exploitation of women and children through this practice.”

READ: Adoption, IVF, and surrogacy: What pro-lifers need to know

Gambino quoted a Vatican document that states “not all methods of reproduction are lawful, and there is no strictly legal ‘right to a child’ capable of justifying any procreative practice,” while also noting many of the problems with surrogacy, including “making the birth a depersonalized procedure” and the “commodification and exploitation of women and children.” She also stated that surrogacy is “a form of arranging fundamental human relationships, which will forever impact the identity and life of the woman and of the child.”

Other speakers included Olivia Maurel, who was born via surrogacy and now advocates against it, Eugenia Roccella, Italy’s Minister for Family, Birth Rate and Equal Opportunities, and Eva Maria Bachinger, a journalist and author who co-founded the ‘Stop Surrogacy’ initiative in Vienna in 2015.

Pope Francis has previously spoken of the dangers of surrogacy, calling it “deplorable” in a speech given to world ambassadors in January.

“The path to peace calls for respect for life, for every human life, starting with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking,” Pope Francis said.

“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.”

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