A group of lawyers, doctors, psychologists, and others from five continents gathered in Casablanca, Morocco, on March 3 to call for the repeal of all laws allowing or tolerating surrogacy around the world. 

The group released a signed document titled “International Declaration for the Universal Abolition of Surrogacy,” which aims to raise global awareness of what the group considers to be a practice that violates human dignity. Along with the statement, a proposal for an international convention was made available to all organizations and governments that wish to ratify it.

“We call on [countries] to condemn surrogacy in all modalities and kinds, whether remunerated or not, and the implementation of measures to fight such practice,” the signatories, who represent more than 70 countries, wrote in their “Casablanca Declaration,” at the same time maintaining to be “aware of the suffering of people who may not conceive” and of the “appeal of reproductive technologies.”

To date, no binding text has been adopted on the issue at the international level. Although the practice is currently authorized in a limited number of countries (some American states, Canada, the U.K., Ukraine, Russia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, and India), many countries maintain a legal vagueness on the issue, especially concerning the recognition of children born by surrogate motherhood abroad. It has the effect of considerably expanding the boundaries of the practice.

Aude Mirkovic, senior lecturer in law and one of the main organizers and coordinator of the initiative, told CNA that one major issue facing countries where surrogacy is still illegal is that foreign commercial companies are given an avenue to come and recruit potential clients.

Indeed, the recommendations contained in the convention proposal are limited to five: “prohibit the practice of surrogacy on their territory; deny any legal validity to contracts bearing the undertaking from a woman to carry and deliver a child; punish the individuals and corporations acting as intermediaries between the surrogacy mothers and the orderers; prosecute the individuals entering into surrogacy on their territory; prosecute their nationals entering into surrogacy outside their territory.”

“The feeling that unites us all is the determination not to stand by and watch this human commodification, this modern slavery, develop,” Mirkovic concluded. “Slavery would never have been abolished if our ancestors had been as individualistic as the present generation is. But human dignity must be defended at all times and in all places, and everyone has a part to play.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.