(by Peggy Moen)
May 12, 2015
MINNEAPOLIS — Bishop Paul Sirba of Duluth, Minn., addressed about 250 pro-lifers at St. Helena’s here on “The Gospel of Life in a Throwaway Culture,” borrowing Pope Francis’ theme. The occasion was the parish’s 30th “Evening Affirming Human Life and the Family.”
“What can we do?” Bishop Sirba asked his listeners — the bulk of whom were decades-long pro-life veterans — to answer the throwaway culture, which sees the elderly, the unborn, and others as disposable. “Where do we find ourselves today?” in our defense of human life.
Along with his call to “explore the joy of the Gospel of Life,” the bishop focused on a new manifestation of the throwaway culture: the “commercial surrogacy industry.”
“Surrogacy” means a couple who, unable to have a biological child of their own, hire a woman to carry and deliver a baby for them. After the birth, the couple then take the baby.
Bishop Sirba referenced a recent article on surrogacy by Kathryn Mollen, the policy and outreach coordinator of the Minnesota Catholic Conference (The Northern Cross of the Diocese of Duluth, March 2015). Mollen wrote that surrogacy often leads to disastrous consequences, as when one party to the agreement changes his or her mind.
Therefore, the “commercial surrogacy industry” has been promoting state laws to help them legitimize the surrogacy contracts and protect their client’s “investment” and “do what was, historically, unthinkable in our legal system: buy and sell a baby,” wrote Mollen.
Last year, the Minnesota Catholic Conference helped defeat legislation that would have legitimized surrogacy contracts. This year, the MCC is backing legislation to establish a surrogacy study commission.
Illinois and California have already legalized commercial surrogacy.
While the desire to have a child is a good end, said Bishop Sirba, surrogacy uses unacceptable means to obtain it. He stressed that “compassion does not justify the commodification of human life.”
The bishop offered another example of this commodification.
In a First Things article dated December 31, 2014, author George Weigel reported how Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare — best known for calling American voters “stupid” — in 1997 wrote a chilling paper on the benefits of abortion.