Argentina’s Catholic bishops attacked proposed reforms to the country’s Civil Code in a document released Wednesday.
The church has lost some key social battles in Argentina recently. The same-sex marriage law passed in 2010 despite the fact that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio–a runner-up for pope–declared a “holy war” against it. Argentina jumped into the vanguard of gender rights earlier this year by passing a broad law guaranteeing legal protections to transgendered people.
But the church still has an upper hand on reproductive issues in a country where abortion remains illegal, and that’s where it focused its firepower in Wednesday’s statement. The most controversial parts of the proposed changes concern assisted methods of conception, according to the newspaper Clarín. These include surrogacy, the handling of embryos, and the post-mortem donation of gametes. They write,
Motherhood and fatherhood will be disfigured by the so-called ‘procreation by will’ [‘voluntad procreacional]; it will legitimize, on the one hand, the promotion of ‘surrogacy’ that objectifies women and, on the other, the indefinite freezing of human embryos, which can be discarded or used for commercial purposes and research.
The church also took issue with changes that would make it easier for couples to divorce, saying that they will mean that “matrimonial bonds will be left weakened and devalued.”