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Right to children or children’s rights? Surrogacy debate comes to a head in Rome

Published by The Washington Post. Read the article here.

ROME — An international campaign to ban surrogacy received a strong endorsement Friday from the Vatican, with a top official calling for a broad-based alliance to stop the “commercialization of life.”

A Vatican-affiliated university hosted a two-day conference promoting an international treaty to outlaw surrogacy, be it commercial arrangements or so-called altruistic ones. It’s based on the campaigners’ argument that the practice violates U.N. conventions protecting the rights of the child and surrogate mother.

At issue is whether there is a fundamental right to have a child, or whether the rights of children trump the desires of potential parents.

The conference, which also drew U.N. human rights representatives and experts, marked an acceleration of a campaign that has found some support in parts of the developing world and western Europe. At the same time, Canada and the United States are known for highly regulated arrangements that draw heterosexual and homosexual couples alike from around the world, while other countries allow surrogacy with fewer rules.

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