The World

Experts and politicians call for the abolition of surrogacy

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Vatican and the United Nations, and supported by prominent feminists, called for the prohibition of a practice that violates the fundamental rights of women and children.

Maria Candela Temes-April 8, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes

Olivia Maurel and her husband with the Italian Minister of the Family

The leaders of the "Casablanca Declaration" met this weekend in Rome to continue working for the universal abolition of surrogacy. The two-day conference brought together politicians, representatives of international organizations, academics and feminists in the Italian capital to bring to the public debate how this practice violates human dignity.

The conference was preceded last Thursday by a private audience of Pope Francis with the main organizers of the meeting: the Franco-Chilean lawyer Bernard García Larraín, the Uruguayan jurist Sofía Maruri and the spokeswoman Olivia MaurelThe Roman Pontiff encouraged them in their work and invited them not to lose their sense of humor and to not lose their sense of humour. The Roman Pontiff encouraged them in their work and invited them not to lose their sense of humor.

The presence of prominent voices

The Vatican's support was confirmed by the presence at the congress of Miroslaw Wachowski, undersecretary of the Section for States and International Organizations of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, who opened the meeting with a strong and clear appeal to defend the dignity of women and children.

In addition to Monsignor Wachowski, Eugenia Roccella, Minister of Family, Birth and Equal Opportunities of Italy, as well as Velina Todorova, member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Reem Alsalem, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, also spoke. In their remarks, they stressed that, although surrogacy is not regulated in many countries, attention must be paid to the damage it can cause to human rights and the risk of commercialization it represents.

Olivia Maurel gave a moving and powerful testimony, in which she shared her personal story, marked by a past of depression, alcoholism and suicide attempts that only found an explanation when she discovered her origins and that she had been born to a woman other than her mother through the practice of surrogacy. Olivia, married and mother of three children, has become a prominent activist who calls on the political powers and international organizations to take more forceful action to prevent stories of pain like hers from being repeated.

The Casablanca Declaration, which works towards an international treaty banning surrogacy, seeks cross-cutting support at all levels and managed to bring together important feminist figures such as Sweden's Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Germany's Birgit Kelle and Austria's Eva Maria Bachinger.

What is the Casablanca Declaration

As its promoters point out, the "Casablanca Declaration for the universal abolition of surrogacy", which was made public in Casablanca (Morocco) on March 3, 2023, was signed by 100 experts of 75 nationalities. The aim of this text is to commit the States to adopt measures against surrogate motherhood in all its forms and modalities, whether paid or unpaid.

Pope Francis, in his address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, last January 8, was forceful in his rejection of the practice of surrogate motherhood: "I consider deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which gravely offends the dignity of the woman and the child, and is based on the exploitation of the mother's situation of material need. A child is always a gift and never the object of a contract. I therefore call upon the international community to commit itself to a universal prohibition of this practice". The Roman Pontiff's words brought the issue to the front page of numerous media and were an important encouragement to the Casablanca promoters.

The authorMaria Candela Temes

Read more
La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.