Italy Moves to Tighten Surrogacy Ban, Aligning with Vatican's Position

Italy's PM Meloni pushes for stricter surrogacy ban, aligning with Vatican's stance, raising concerns over LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

Trim Correspondents
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Italy Moves to Tighten Surrogacy Ban, Aligning with Vatican's Position

Italy Moves to Tighten Surrogacy Ban, Aligning with Vatican's Position

The Italian government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, is taking steps to strengthen the country's existing ban on surrogacy. Meloni has urged the Italian Parliament to adopt stricter legislation that would criminalize Italians who procure surrogacy services abroad, calling the practice "inhuman" and likening it to "uterus renting."

Under the proposed bill, which has already been approved by Italy's lower House and is currently being debated in the Senate, individuals who go abroad to rent women's wombs could face fines of up to $1 million and prison sentences of up to two years. Meloni has described surrogacy as turning children into "supermarket products" and an "inhuman practice" that violates the dignity of both the child and the woman.

The move to tighten surrogacy laws in Italy aligns with the Vatican's stance on the issue. The Catholic Church has long opposed surrogacy, arguing that it exploits women and treats children as commodities. Pope Francis has called for an international ban on the deplorable practice, and the Vatican recently issued a document slamming surrogacy as an attack on human dignity.

Why this matters: The effort to strengthen Italy's surrogacy ban has broader implications for LGBTQ+ rights in the country. As the last European nation to legalize same-sex unions, Italy has faced criticism for its slow progress on LGBTQ+ equality. Meloni's government has also changed birth certificates to list "mother" and "father" instead of "parent 1" and "parent 2," a move seen as targeting same-sex parents.

While surrogacy is legal in some form in the United States, the majority of European countries either prohibit it altogether or allow only unpaid surrogacy. An international conference held in Rome recently brought together anti-surrogacy advocates, including individuals born through surrogacy, who reiterated their opposition to the practice. Olivia Maurel, who was born from surrogacy, stated, "There is no right to have a child. Surrogacy violates many of these rights."

The effort to curb foreign travel for surrogacy in Italy has been under debate since last year, with LGBT families and advocacy groups pushing back against the proposed legislation. Meloni's government has also promised to address Italy's declining birth rates by increasing public spending on families, including baby bonuses and tax breaks. The strengthening of Italy's surrogacy ban, supported by Meloni and aligned with the Vatican's position, marks a significant development in the ongoing debate over reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ equality in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Italy's PM Meloni seeks to criminalize Italians who procure foreign surrogacy.
  • Proposed bill imposes fines up to $1M and 2-year prison sentences for surrogacy.
  • Meloni calls surrogacy "inhuman," aligning with the Vatican's opposition to the practice.
  • Surrogacy ban impacts LGBTQ+ rights, as Italy lags in LGBTQ+ equality in Europe.
  • Most European countries prohibit or only allow unpaid surrogacy, unlike the US.