Faith

Pope Francis Wants Global Ban on Surrogate Parenting

123RF

Pope Francis condemned the practice of surrogate parenting, in which a woman gives birth for another, and pushed for a worldwide ban.

As a non-Catholic, I don’t feel any obligation to follow the “rulings” of Pope Francis. But I’ve been surprised at how often he’s said something that pleasantly surprised me. But his most recent comments on surrogate parenting, which he called “deplorable,” definitely came as a disappointment.

NBC News and other outlets pointed out the comments are likely to “antagonize” LGBTQ+ couples. That does makes sense becuase LGBTQ+ couples often turn to surrogacy to have children of their own. But a global ban on surrogacy would affect far more than same-sex couples.

Imagine a heterosexual couple who is unable to conceive a child of their own. I would imagine that almost everyone knows a couple in that situation. For many, adoption would not be possible because of the cost or the level of red tape. Some have to turn to fundraisers to cover what seems like an outrageous cost compared with having a child naturally.

A global ban on surrogate parenting could prevent those couples from giving a child a loving home.

Francis worries about the potential of exploitation

In prepared remarks, the pontiff deemed surrogacy as “deplorable.” He said it “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,” he said. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

But there are those who claim that some women have more children than they can practically afford to get more benefits — essentially, they claim the women are just going for benefits. Whether you believe that or not, it’s not hard to imagine that one could exploit almost anything these days.

If the concern is about money, which, in some ways, doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable, I have to ask a simple question. Why doesn’t the pontiff simultaneously call for a ban on any fees and red tape surrounding adoption? There are those who have children — in some cases because they have no choice once they become pregnant — but then put that child up for adoption. That way, parents who want a child of their own could give that child a good life. That’s a big part of the very reason they may turn to surrogate parenting as option…especially when going the route of traditional adoption doesn’t seem like a good option.

Why didn’t he call on the global community to make adoption more affordable?

The ultimate surrogate claim

Some critics responded to Francis’ condemnation with the claim that Jesus Christ was born to a surrogate mother. Was Mary a surrogate?

Well, I’m afraid the debate gets mired in technicalities. The main reason people give for insisting Mary wasn’t a surrogate mother is that it was her egg that God fertilized.

I don’t know what special definition they contrived for the surrogate parents debate. But the reasonable, modern definition doesn’t require that the mother carry an embryo that did not involve her own egg. Even if she is impregnated by artificial insemination, that can be done with her own egg.

If she carries the child to term for someone else, it would seem to qualify for surrogacy.

You must then ask whether God acted like a human father — beyond being the spiritual Father. Presumably, Joseph acted as Jesus’ earthly father rather than God. So one might argue that as far as Joseph himself was concerned, Mary acted as a surrogate mother for God to bring the Savior into the world.

The debate, from what I’ve seen, rages on with great amounts of passion. I just don’t feel the need to join it because I don’t see it really going anywhere.

What about the other arguments?

Frances previosuly said surrogacy amounts to a woman offering a “rented uterus.” He said it exploits poor women and treats the newborns as commodities.

If the concern is about a child being the subject of a commercial contract, why not do what some European countries have done? While some European countries ban surrogacy outright, others allow it only in “altruistic” cases, The Washington Post reports. In those cases, a relative or close friend is willing to serve as the surrogate without monetary compensation.

Why not allow those “altruistic” cases where no money changes hands? That would solve that problem.

The Vatican has condemned surrogacy because of the “depersonalization.” If you have a couple who, for whatever reason, cannot conceive, there’s no amount of “personalization” in the bedroom that can produce that child. Surrogacy gives that loving couple a chance to become loving parents.

I find it ironic that the church, which has expressed worries in the past about falling birth rates, would be against science that could help couples who want to raise a child of their own bring new life into the world!

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.