16th March 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said the Tasmanian Government’s Surrogacy Bill, tabled yesterday, tramples the rights of the child to at least begin life with a mother and father.
Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said Tasmania should not go down the same path as other states in allowing two men, two women and even single people to acquire a baby through surrogacy – thereby depriving the children of the complementary love and care of a mother and a father.
“This bill is fraught with emotional, biological and legal complexities for children, as well as for women who carry someone else’s baby,” he said.
Mr Brown said the Surrogacy Bill did not reflect the recommendations handed down in last month’s federal Senate report into donor conception practices – which is intricately linked to the surrogacy issues.
“Last month’s report into donor conception practices made 31 recommendations including that Tasmania should introduce legislation to regulate donor conception and that there be a national register of donors for the child to know information about their biological parent. However, the bill has largely ignored these child-friendly recommendations of the Senate,” he said.
“If the Government does decide to proceed with changing the laws we would urge all political parties to allow their members a conscience vote on the issue.”
Mr Brown said it was vital that the Government consider the best interests of children and, if they go ahead with legalising surrogacy, to separate the bill into two issues: heterosexual surrogacy and homosexual and single parent surrogacy.
“While we understand the heart-felt desire of adults to have children, we should not be placing those desires above the rights of a child to have both a mother and a father. Children are not commodities and their interests should always come before the desires of adults,” Mr Brown said.
“Clearly it is not in the best interests of children for the State to allow them to be conceived through assisted reproductive technology and then placed in an unnatural family construct that denies them a mother or a father.”