Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby has called on upper house members of the Tasmanian Parliament to reject the Tasmanian Surrogacy Bill which is expected to be debated next week.

Tasmanian state director of the Australian Christian Lobby Mark Brown said since a Draft Bill was first introduced in parliament in 2010, it has fundamentally ignored the ethical and moral implications of legalising surrogacy.

“Despite the bill being sent to the committee last year, its terms of reference weren’t broadened to include the merits of surrogacy – which is where this debate really needs to be held,” Mr Brown said.

“We note that committee member Rosemary Armitage wrote a dissenting letter stating she was fundamentally opposed to the bill – which hints that we haven’t raised questions during the process that people want to explore – should we be legalising altruistic surrogacy in the first place?

“The ACL holds the view that the law should dissuade adults from entering into surrogacy arrangements because it is a practice fraught with legal and emotional complexities for all parties, but especially for children and the surrogate mother.

“This is a very complicated issue - the evidence of which has been no more clearly seen in the breadth of changes sought by the upper house – most of which have now been ignored by the government in its response.

“One of the key recommendations by the committee ignored by government was the right for the child to have access to information relating to gamete donors. It is clearly not in the best interests of children not to know their genetic heritage – something last year’s Federal Senate Inquiry into Donor Conception unanimously recommended when it said there should be a prohibition on donor anonymity.

“How can the Tasmanian Government ignore two separate committee recommendations – state and national – on such an important issue?

“The Surrogacy Bill 2011 as it currently stands denies a child’s fundamental right to at least begin life with a mother and father by allowing singles and same-sex couples to have access to altruistic surrogacy,” he said.

The Tasmanian Committees report on the Surrogacy Bill can be read here and the Government’s response can be read here.

See related ABC News story "Govt to revise surrogacy laws"