KIEV, Ukraine (ChurchMilitant.com) - Greek and Roman Catholic bishops in Ukraine have joined together urging authorities to ban surrogate motherhood and international child trafficking.
The catalyst for the bishops' appeal was the recent publication of a heart-wrenching video on the website of the BioTexCom clinic, a so-called center for human reproduction, broadcast from the Kiev hotel Venice.
The video showed almost 50 babies, born from surrogacy, "crying in their hospital beds and deprived of parental warmth, treated as goods for which no buyer had yet applied," according to Polonia Christiana, a Polish news site.
The Ukrainian hospital prepared the video to reassure surrogate-parents-to-be that the babies were all right and under the care of pediatricians. The reassurance was directed to parents in the United States, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Germany and China who could not collect their babies because of the pandemic and the closing of borders or were considering "purchasing" one.
Ukraine is known as a "surrogacy-friendly state," with the practice advertised as "well regulated," with contracts considered enforceable under legislation enacted at the federal level. Under Ukrainian law, the child belongs solely to the commissioned parents from the moment of conception.
Shaken by the video, the hierarchs of both rites addressed the Ukrainian government with an urgent demand to ban such practices: "Surrogate motherhood, that is, treating people as a commodity that can be ordered, prepared and sold, which, to our great regret, is actively allowed by Ukrainian legislation, is a problem, is trampling on human dignity."
Controversial BioTexCom video promoting surrogacy in Ukraine
The bishops referred to the legalized status of surrogacy in Ukraine as "a moral evil that causes countless suffering and disgrace to both the child thus born and the woman who gave birth to her."
"No circumstances or effects can justify the practice of surrogate motherhood," the Greek and Roman Catholic clergy insisted.
Lyudmila Denisova, representative of the Ukrainian Parliament for human rights, called the practice a "scandal," objecting to Ukrainian children being passed on to foreign parents. Denisov asked the parliamentarians to change the law, arguing that surrogate motherhood in Ukraine should be available "exclusively to Ukrainians," in an effort to better track their care.
What the BioTexCom hospital had to say was more blasé. In a statement published on its website, owner Albert Tocziłowski touted the cheap price for which his facility sold babies. BioTexCom offers babies for $30,000–$70,000 as part of a "package deal," while such services can cost up to $300,000 in the United States. The deal includes baby, flat in Ukraine, surrogate mother's salary, flights, etc.
Surrogacy is becoming more common — and legal — throughout the world. But this is such a profitable business that — especially in poor countries — centers dealing with this practice are multiplying, according to Polonia Christiana.
Homosexuals or homosexual couples, who mainly use the help of American clinics, find the service useful — exemplified by the recent case of CNN's Anderson Cooper buying a surrogate baby boy.
One same-sex couple in Italy, where surrogacy is illegal, said, "The consent of the Italian authorities to collect children from Ukraine could contribute to a change in the world for the better."
The Ukrainian bishops concluded their statement by demanding that:
the state authorities finally pay attention to family policy in Ukraine — to create an appropriate state body that would take care of Ukrainian families and would ensure that our mothers would not have to trade their bodies and children carried under their hearts, that they and their children-loved ones could survive.
They signed it on behalf of their churches — the Synod of Bishops of the Kiev-Halice archbishopric of the greater Abp. Światosław Szewczuk and the Latin Metropolitan of Lviv Abp. Mieczysław Mokrzycki on behalf of the conference of bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian Catholic priest in the Philadelphia archeparchy with strong ties to Ukraine talked to Church Militant about "corruption of all kinds" being "a massive, massive problem in Ukraine."
"Almost nothing would surprise me concerning Ukraine today when it comes to profiting monetarily," he said. "A sad reality."