Pope Francis called Monday for a universal ban on what he called the “despicable” practice of surrogate motherhood, as he included the “commercialization” of pregnancy in an annual speech listing threats to global peace and human dignity.

In a foreign policy address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Francis lamented that 2024 had dawned at a time in which peace is “increasingly threatened, weakened and in some part lost.”

Citing Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, migration, climate crises and the “immoral” production of nuclear and conventional weapons, Francis delivered a list of the ills afflicting humanity and the increasing violation of international humanitarian law that allows them.

But Francis also listed smaller-scale issues that he said were threats to peace and human dignity, including surrogacy. He said the life of the unborn child must be protected and not “suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable 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,” he said….

While commercial surrogacy contracts are common in the United States, including with protections for the mothers, guarantees of independent legal representation and medical coverage, they are banned in parts of Europe including Spain and Italy….

In Italy, where surrogacy has been banned for years, the issue has emerged recently as the conservative government of Premier Giorgia Meloni has opposed registering both parents of children born via surrogacy overseas….

From AP News