A woman born of surrogacy is now fighting against it

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At the start of 2024, Pope Francis made waves in major headlines around the world when he called for a universal ban on surrogacy.

POPE FRANCIS
I consider deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which seriously offends the dignity of the woman and the child. It is based on the exploitation of a situation of material need of the mother. A child is always a gift and never the object of a contract.

Just a few weeks prior to his address, advocate Olivia Maurel sent a letter to the Pope, asking him to make a public stance against surrogacy. And now she is credited with being among those who motivated his historic appeal.

OLIVIA MAUREL
Speaker, mother, advocate

His voice really is the voice of morality that a lot of people listen to, even people who don't have faith. It is kind of the conscious of the common good.
I personally don't have faith. I said it in my letter to him, I am an athiest.
However, even if I don't believe in God, I do believe that the Pope's word goes beyond faith.

Olivia grew up in France but was born from a surrogate in Kentucky—something that she did not discover until adulthood. And from trauma to attachment issues and feeling psychologically distant from her parents, Olivia says surrogacy has only negatively impacted her life.

OLIVIA MAUREL
Speaker, mother, advocate

Not knowing where I came from or where half of my blood came from really caused me a lot of mental difficulties like depression.

But she stresses that surrogacy not only harms her life, but countless lives of women and children around the world.

The practice is often utilized by celebrities and the wealthy as it can cost up to $150,000 to rent a woman's womb in the United States. The commerical surrogacy industry is currently worth billions and is expected to grow significantly—only enhancing what Olivia refers to as cruel, immoral and unjust.

OLIVIA MAUREL
Speaker, mother, advocate

Surrogacy, we have to remember, separates a child from his mother at birth. And we give that child to complete strangers.
A lot of money is made on the backs of these women, these children. And we're letting human trafficking in many countries, as if it were normal, just to satisfy couples' desires to have children.

Today, Olivia Maurel is a wife and mother of three. And despite being born from surrogacy, she now speaks to legislatures and works with organizations with the ultimate goal of ending surrogacy across the globe.

AT

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