Steps for Life, a Mexican advocacy organization, is pushing for the introduction of laws that ban surrogate motherhood, commonly referred to as “rent-a-womb,” and other exploitative practices concerning women’s fertility.

In an effort to raise public awareness about the issue of surrogate motherhood, Steps for Life has initiated a campaign to create outdoor murals displaying messages like “Women should not be rented, and their children should not be sold.” Through these murals, the organization seeks to draw attention to the growing prevalence of this troubling practice in Mexico.

Murals have already been painted in the Mexican states of Coahuila, Michoacán, San Luis Potosí, and Jalisco, as well as in Mexico City.

Pilar Rebollo, the head of Steps for Life, contends that the practice of surrogate motherhood and similar forms of fertility exploitation cause even greater harm to women than historical injustices. A study conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Faculty of Political and Social Sciences revealed that in 2018, the surrogacy industry had worldwide profits of $6 billion. This number is expected to rise to $27.5 billion by 2025.

According to Rebollo, Steps for Life is committed to advocating for improved conditions for expectant mothers and their children, with the goal of upholding the dignity of every individual from conception to natural death. She criticized the practice of commercializing the bodies and fertility of women in financial distress.

The Catechism (CCC 2376) states that procedures involving the separation of a married couple by introducing a third party, such as a sperm or egg donor or a surrogate, are gravely immoral. These practices infringe upon a child’s right to be born to married parents who are known to them, as well as the rights of couples to become parents exclusively through their relationship.

Pope Francis, speaking to the Federation of Catholic Family Associations of Europe on June 10, 2022, cautioned against the risks to human dignity posed by the “rent-a-womb” phenomenon, which he said frequently takes advantage of economically disadvantaged women and commodifies children.

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