Pope Francis calls surrogacy ‘deplorable,’ calls for global ban

ROME — Pope Francis called Monday for a global ban on surrogate motherhood, equating it with child trafficking in a meeting with ambassadors to the Vatican and adding fuel to efforts in Italy to pass the West’s most restrictive law on a practice used by unfertile and same-sex couples to become parents.

“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,” Francis said in prepared remarks. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract. Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is pressing for an extended, universal ban on surrogacy that would mean jail time and large fines for parents who seek to have children through surrogate mothers overseas. The practice is already banned in Italy, as well as some other countries in Europe.

The pope’s comments on surrogacy stood out in a wide-ranging speech on global issues that Francis sought to put on diplomatic agendas, including a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, lingering humanitarian crises in Africa and rising tensions in Latin America.

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