VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican is warning that the alleged rejection of a baby born with Down syndrome to a surrogate mother in Thailand shows how babies have become consumer products for sale.
Surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua, a 21-year-old street vendor, made headlines around the world after claiming she is caring for 7-month-old Gammy, who also has a congenital heart defect, because his biological parents from Australia abandoned him in Thailand.
She has claimed the couple took Gammy’s healthy twin sister home but left him behind. The father, David John Farnell, and his wife have told the media they did not know of the boy’s existence.
“We should not be surprised if parents who have ordered a baby and rented a woman’s womb refuse it at birth if it is not healthy and perfect,” said an article published in the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
“In fact if a child becomes a product to buy, it is obvious that as with any acquisition it must meet with the buyer’s approval.”
The strongly worded commentary was written by prominent Catholic feminist and regular contributor Lucetta Scaraffia, who argued the child’s rejection was to be expected in the “explosive mix” of consumerism combined with a “throwaway culture.”
“Now everyone is indignant, or making a show of being indignant,” Scaraffia said. “In reality there is little to be indignant about — if you accept the logic that a child is a product this is the obvious consequence. We should not treat it as an isolated case.”
According to Australian media reports, child protection authorities have launched an investigation into the father’s record, which reportedly includes 22 child sex convictions, including unlawful and indecent dealing with girls dating back to the 1980s.
KRE/MG END McKENNA