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Pages tagged "surrogacy"
Tas surrogacy bill sent to committee
· June 16, 2011 10:00 AM
The Legislative Council has agreed to refer the Tasmanian Surrogacy Bill 2011 to a parliamentary committee for closer examination.
This is a positive move as it gives Councillors more time to work through some of the complex issues/required safeguards relating to the bill and how other jurisdictions have dealt with these.
There have been many amendments proposed by individual members to what has been described by some as a hodgepodge of other surrogacy legislation.
The committee can choose to hear briefs/obtain submissions from interested parties/get expert advice etc. as they further scrutinise the legislation. It is likely that this will take a number of months to complete.
Those members on the committee are Rosemary Armitage, Ruth Forrest (Chair), Vanessa Goodwin, Greg Hall , Paul Harriss and Jim Wilkinson. Please continue to pray for these MLCs as they look further into this legislation over the coming months.
contained an opinion piece by ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown exploring the ethical problems for children which are associated with surrogacy.
The piece is not available online but you can read his article below.
Time to ask hard questions
There needs to be a long, hard look taken at issues surrounding surrogacy, says Mark Brown
The heart-rending story of the first surrogate mother under Queensland’s Surrogacy Act should cause Tasmanian legislators to pause before rushing head-long into legislative social experimentation. The mother of two who was initially confident about her decision to help her gay friends become parents ended up bitterly regretting giving up her baby to the two homosexual men. Although she did not receive counselling prior to her decision, as the law now requires, it is questionable whether this would have prevented the change of heart once the pregnancy was underway. This sad account only reinforces that fact - surrogacy is a fraught practice – ethically, legally, and psychologically – and is not in the best interests of birth mothers or children.
Whilst it is natural and right to empathise with the heartfelt desires of infertile couples to become parents, the welfare of the vulnerable in the process should always be a higher priority. ACL maintains that the interests of the birth mother, and especially children, who can never give their consent to the practice, should come before those of the intended parent(s) when it comes to surrogacy. The state should continue to discourage surrogacy because it blurs family relationships and disrupts relationship links between conception, gestation, birth and motherhood, which are important factors for human identity. Such issues have been highlighted in a Senate inquiry report on Donor Conception Practices released in March.
Tasmanian legislators have the benefit of the report’s findings, and a recent flood of heart-rending stories only now beginning to be told from people conceived using donor conception and the genetic bewilderment they often experience. Instead of encouraging adults to enter into deeply conflicted parenting agreements, Tasmanian legislators should be dissuading them. If legislators are determined to legalise surrogacy it should only be available as a last resort for medically infertile heterosexual couples in a long-term relationship who have a biological connection with the child. This is the stance taken by the South Australian government when they enacted the
Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy) Act 2009
. Deliberately denying children the right to be brought up within their biological families and to at least begin life with a mum and a dad, as permitted in the current Tasmanian bill, is clearly not in a child’s best interest.
As one would expect the overwhelming weight of evidence from research highlights the social, educational, psychological and safety benefits of having both a mum and dad in a stable relationship. Obviously not every child gets the best start in life due to tragedies like divorce/desertion and death. However, when there is a choice as to how a child enters the world, surely it is common sense that their best interests should prevail ahead of the interests of adults? A 2009 Galaxy poll affirmed this with 86 per cent of Australians agreeing that children should be raised by their own mother and father.
Yes this approach does discriminate against singles, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples who cannot supply gametes. Not because they are potentially less loving or worse parents, but because none of these parenting arrangements can offer what is in the child’s best interests – a biologically related mum and dad. By taking this stance Tasmanian legislators will be exercising discretion (positive discrimination) in favour of our state’s most precious gifts – our children.
MR: Commercialising surrogacy commercialises children
· May 23, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Monday May 23, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby has rejected a call by an ACT fertility specialist to commercialise fertility treatments in the territory.
Commercialising surrogacy and egg donation would take advantage of vulnerable women and would also add to the increasing “genetic bewilderment” of donor-conceived children, thereby putting the rights of adults above the rights of the child.
ACT Director Nick Jensen said in response to comments by Doctor Stafford-Bell in
The Canberra Times
that the idea of commercialised surrogacy is one which is fraught with ethical, legal and medical complexities.
“It would not only create a situation where vulnerable young women could feel pressured to sell their eggs and wombs in order to the cover cost of living, but also fails to recognise the pain and hurt that would continue to be caused to donor-conceived children,” he said.
“We recognise the strong desire for people to have children if they are unable to for whatever reason, but this is not a good enough reason to commercialise it into an industry,” Mr Jensen said.
“Children are not pets to be bought and sold as part of a consumer culture, and the rights and desires of adults should not trump those of children.
“Calls to commercialise the reproductive industry do not take into account that procuring human beings is not a capitalist venture.
“The idea that a rich couple would be able to offer a poverty-stricken woman money to use her body as an incubator is not an ethical one. Even if the woman agrees we would be creating a society where money can even buy people, and equality is being removed.
“Fertility treatment has been a major breakthrough, but we should still keep at the forefront of these laws a child’s right to grow up with their natural mother and father if at all possible, as stated in article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“We call on the ACT government as they consider legislation around reproductive technology to follow the recommendations given by the Senate on Donor Conception practices in Australia, which prohibits payments on sperm, oocyte and embryo donations, discourages overseas donations, and puts a prohibition on donor anonymity,” Mr Jensen said.
MR: SA Government should reject committee’s recommendations
· May 18, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Wednesday May 18, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby urges the South Australian Government not to endorse the Social Development Committee’s recommendations on same-sex parenting because it is not in the best interests of children.
ACL’s acting South Australian Director Rob Ward rejected the committee’s seven recommendations which would prevent children from having a mother and a father.
“The changes proposed to allow single and lesbian women access to assisted reproductive technology and to allow same-sex couples access to adoption and surrogacy would stop children at least beginning life with a mother and father,” he said.
“This should not be seen as a same-sex parenting issue but as being about children’s rights. All things being equal, children have the right to both a mother and a father.
“When it comes to assisted reproduction, children have a fundamental right to be born from natural human origins and, if at all possible, to know and be raised by their biological mother and father.
“Surrogacy is fraught with emotional, biological and legal complexities for children, as well as for women who carry someone else’s baby,” he said.
“Last week’s news about the mother of the first child under Queensland surrogacy law regretting giving up her baby should be a warning to politicians about the complexities.
“Just as the desire to nurture a child is entirely natural for a mother, so is the desire of a child to know his or her biological parents. In some cases this is clearly not possible, such as through death or desertion.
“But where it is possible to avoid the situation of a child growing up without a mother or father, the child’s rights should be considered as paramount and put before the rights of adults, regardless of their strong desire for children.”
The Australian Christian Lobby is opposed to surrogacy, IVF, and other methods used to allow single women or men and same-sex couples to obtain children, and opposes Medicare funding of such measures.
“ACL believes that every child has a natural right to know his or her mum and dad, and to be raised in a home with the complementary love, care and role-modelling of a mother and father,” Mr Ward said.
MR: Qld surrogacy mother’s regret sends a message to Tasmanian Parliament
· May 15, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Monday May 16, 2011
last week of the first surrogate mother under Queensland’s Surrogacy Act bitterly regretting giving up her baby to two homosexual men should cause Tasmanian legislators to pause before rushing head-long into legislative social experimentation, according to Australian Christian Lobby Tasmanian Director Mark Brown.
Mr Brown said surrogacy was a fraught practice – ethically, legally, and psychologically – that was not in the interests of birth mothers or children.
“Tasmanian Upper House members considering the up-coming surrogacy bill should look closely at the plight of this Queensland woman and her child before voting.
“Whilst it is natural and right to empathise with the heartfelt desires of infertile couples to become parents, the welfare of the vulnerable in the process should always be a higher priority,” he said.
“The unfortunate news of Queensland’s first surrogate mother now regretting her involvement confirms the complexity that surrogacy creates for the birth mother in particular.
“ACL maintains that the interests of the birth mother, and especially children, who can never give their consent to the practice, should come before those of the intended parent(s) when it comes to surrogacy.
“The state should continue to discourage surrogacy because it blurs family relationships and disrupts relationship links between conception, gestation, birth and motherhood, which are important factors for human identity.”
Mr Brown said that such issues had been highlighted in a Senate inquiry report on Donor Conception Practices released in March.
“Tasmanian legislators have the benefit of the report’s findings, and more heart-rending stories from people conceived using donor conception.
“Instead of encouraging adults to enter into deeply conflicted parenting agreements, Tasmanian legislators should dissuade adults from entering into such arrangements.
“If legislators are determined to legalise surrogacy it should only be available as a last resort for medically infertile heterosexual couples in a long-term relationship who have a biological connection with the child.
“Deliberately denying children the right to be brought up within their biological families and to at least begin life with a mum and a dad, as permitted in the current bill, is not in a child’s best interest.”
MR: Tragic case highlights pitfalls of surrogacy
· May 11, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Wednesday May 11, 2011
this week of the first surrogate mother under Queensland’s Surrogacy Act regretting her participation in the surrogacy arrangement demonstrates the fraught nature of surrogacy, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has said.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis said that surrogacy was an ethically and psychologically fraught practice that should never have gained the endorsement of the parliament.
“Whilst it is natural and right to empathise with the heartfelt desires of infertile couples to become parents, the welfare of the vulnerable in the process should have always been given a higher priority when the law was debated last year,” she said.
“The unfortunate news of Queensland’s first surrogate mother now regretting her involvement confirms the complexity that surrogacy creates for the birth mother in particular.
“As ACL advocated last year, the interests of the birth mother and especially children, who can never give their consent to the practice, should come before those of the intended parent(s) when it comes to surrogacy.”
Ms Francis rejected suggestions in the
that psychological testing and counselling of all surrogacy participants was the remedy for the negative emotional consequences of surrogacy for birth mothers.
“It is impossible to know exactly how each woman will react to giving away a child they have carried and mothered as their own for nine months,” she said.
“Instead of encouraging adults to enter into deeply conflicted parenting agreements, Queensland law should have continued to dissuade adults from entering into such arrangements.
“Surrogacy should also be discouraged because it blurs family relationships and disrupts relationship links between conception, gestation, birth and motherhood, which are important factors for human identity.
“Deliberately denying children the right to be brought up within their biological families and to at least begin life with a mum and a dad, as Queensland surrogacy law does, is not in a child’s best interest.
“This is something the State should never do and ACL will be looking to promote candidates at the next State election who will put the rights of children to at least begin life with a mother and a father first by supporting the repeal of this provision,” Ms Francis said.
She also commended the birth mother for her courage in publicly expressing her emotional response to her personal involvement in a surrogacy arrangement.
MR: Greens fail to respond to questionnaire as ACL urges informed vote for values
· May 04, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Wednesday 4 May, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has posted answers given by Legislative Council candidates to a series of questions recently put to them.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown says there have been a range of responses to the eight questions posed to candidates in the three contested divisions. The questions cover a wide range of issues: euthanasia, same-sex marriage, religious freedom and surrogacy along with child protection, gambling, prostitution and homelessness.
“Obviously we could not ask all the questions we would have liked but those posed do give a good indication to voters about where candidates stand on issues that have potential to impact society as a whole,” Mr Brown said.
“We have deliberately targeted issues facing Tasmania in 2011, the most current being that of surrogacy which is due to be debated in the upper house at the end of this month.
“It is good to see some candidates committing themselves to putting children’s rights ahead of adult’s wishes by agreeing to allow children born through surrogacy to begin life with both a mum and dad.”
Mr Brown said some candidates are still yet to respond and that Greens candidates had declined to answer the questionnaire. Anyone interested in viewing the candidate responses can do so through the
which will continue to be updated leading up to Saturday’s elections.
Mr Brown encouraged voters to support candidates who were prepared to put kids’ rights to a mum and dad first.
He also urged voters to use the website to cast an informed vote for the upper house in Saturday’s election.
MR: State-mandated fatherlessness or motherlessness unfair to children
· April 15, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Friday 15 April, 2011
The Surrogacy Bill 2011 that passed Tasmania’s lower house yesterday is neither fair nor responsible to the interests and rights of children the Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said today.
Mr Brown said that by denying a child’s fundamental right to at least begin life with a mother and a father, and by mandating that some children be subject to motherless and fatherless lives, the state was failing its duty to secure the best interests of the child.
“It is clear from Attorney-General
David Bartlett’s media release
announcing the passage of the surrogacy bill through the lower house that the government was favouring the desire of adults – any adult(s) – to obtain a child instead of the more paramount rights of children.
“Mr Bartlett has called the bill ‘fair’ and ‘responsible’, highlighting that it ‘removes discrimination’, and declaring that ‘The Government couldn’t accept changes that killed-off the equality and fairness of the legislation’.
“But the state mandating fatherlessness and motherlessness is not fair or reasonable to a child.
“It is not fair for the state to decide that some Tasmanian children will never have the complementary love and care of a mother and a father. It is not reasonable to have children created to be deliberately separated from their biological families.”
Mr Brown said removing discrimination against adults was a poor basis for legislation that directly impacts the entire lives of children, as indeed surrogacy law does.
“A government that strictly adheres to non-discrimination principles to allow adults to fulfil their desire to obtain children is acting only in the interests of adults, and will inevitably breach the fundamental rights and needs of children, whose best interests are paramount.
“There are necessary and reasonable limits to discrimination that allow for decisions to be made in favour of children rather than adults. The surrogacy bill fails to find the right balance.”
Mr Brown also urged members of the upper house to carefully consider whether deliberately denying a child a mother and a father really was in that child’s best interest when it came to debating the bill in the Legislative Council.
He has urged voters in the upcoming Legislative Council elections to support candidates who will uphold the rights of children over the rights of adults.
What’s fair for adults is not fair for kids in surrogacy bill
· April 15, 2011 10:00 AM
In a busy world of consumerism and individualism, it’s very difficult to resist the very strong demands of people to have their rights and needs fulfilled. This is especially the case when it comes to the very natural and strong desire of adults to become parents.
For those who have, or can have, children, it is perhaps impossible to truly understand the depths of emotion that come with medical infertility.
An ABC report today
attempts to capture the strong desire to parent and subsequent pain in not being able to meet that desire, of a Hobart couple.
The couple has welcomed the passing through the Tasmanian lower house of a surrogacy bill, which has given them ‘a final hope of having a baby’ after five failed IVF attempts in the past 10 years. This is the type of heart-wrenching story that characterises many of the debates about surrogacy laws.
But as we’ve seen from recent surrogacy debates in Queensland, New South Wales and now Tasmania, there is much more at stake than simply meeting the strong and legitimate desires of medically infertile couples to become parents.
At stake are the very nature of parenthood itself, and the most fundamental of children’s rights – the right to at least begin life with a mum and a dad. This is because each of these governments believes that we should not discriminate when it comes to who’s eligible to enter into a surrogacy arrangement – a married couple, a same sex couple, even a single man or woman.
In passing the Surrogacy Bill 2011 through the lower house yesterday, the Tasmanian Attorney-General
David Bartlett has said
the bill “removes discrimination, and helps many Tasmanians realise the dream of starting their own family”. What it will mean for some children is state-mandated fatherlessness or motherlessness.
Surely governments, which have a solemn duty to always act in the best interests of the child, should consider the removal of discrimination against adults to be secondary to the welfare and wellbeing of children, particularly where legislation directly impacts the entire lives of children, as indeed surrogacy law does.
In his book, ‘Children on demand’, Australian author Tom Frame, himself adopted as a child, says, “The best interests of the child, which remain paramount, cannot be imperilled because of an unrelated desire to remove discriminatory provisions in administrative law or public policy”.
It is no coincidence that surrogacy is sold as the final hope for the medically infertile, but the voice of the homosexual community – sometimes referred to as ‘socially infertile’ in surrogacy laws – is never too far from such debates, because surrogacy is an avenue for all types of couples and singles to source children.
Prominent Australian ethicist Margaret Somerville says that the most fundamental rights of a child are “to be born from natural human origins that have not been tampered with by anyone else”, and “to know their biological parents and, if at all possible, to be reared by them within their immediate and wider biological family”.
While governments continue to favour the desire of adults – any adults – to obtain children, and to adhere to strict non-discrimination principles, surrogacy law will unfortunately continue to trample on these fundamental rights and needs of children, whose best interests should be paramount.
ACL in the media - a wrap up of the last week's commentary
· April 14, 2011 10:00 AM
[caption id="attachment_6147" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Nick Jensen"]
Prostitution, R18+ classification of games and the Tasmanian Surrogacy Bill were all topics the ACL commented in the media on in the past week.
For a full list of mentions in the media, see below.
- ACT Director Nick Jensen was interview for ABC’s 7.30 ACT program “
” on prostitution which aired on the 8/04/2011
- MD Jim Wallace interviewed by UCB’s Tracey Weare on the 11/04/2011 on PM’s meeting with denominational leaders, gambling and productivity commission report and extra funding for chaplaincy from VIC government. The program aired 12.15 AEST on Vision Radio network.
- TAS State Director Mark Brown talks to Tasmanian Broadcasters about the Surrogacy Bill before Tasmanian Parliament 12/04/2011
- MD Jim Wallace interviewed by 2SM on the clubs and hotels advertising $20 million dollar campaign against pokie reform
- ACL mentioned in
on the 13/04/2011
“Pokie clubs using ‘smear campaign’”
- ACL release on R18+ classification “
R18+ games debate descends to farce
” on Christian Today website
- MD Jim Wallace interviewed by Sonshine FM Perth on pokies reform release
- Tas State Director Mark Brown spoke to ABC Hobart's Louise Saunders on Surrogacy Bill and the ACL's questionnaire 14/04/2011
- ACT State Director Nick Jensen wrote a column defending the place of religion in our schools in Canberra's City News Magazine
MR: Voters urged to support ‘kids-rights-first’ candidates for upper house
· April 14, 2011 10:00 AM
[caption id="attachment_6094" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Mark Brown"]
For release: Thursday April 14, 2011
Tasmanians are being urged to support candidates in the May 7 upper house elections who will support the right of a child to at least begin life with a mother and a father.
The Australian Christian Lobby described today’s likely lower house debate, which looks set to allow single men, single women and same-sex couples to acquire babies through surrogacy, as a fundamental breach of the rights of the child.
“The right of a child to at least begin life with a mother and a father is a fundamental right that should never be deliberately denied by a government which has a solemn duty to always act in the best interests of the child,” said ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown.
“While the desire for a child is a strong one for many adults, a compassionate civil society has a duty to ensure that the rights of the child come first.
“With elections set to take place for several upper house seats prior to debate on the Surrogacy Bill in the Legislative Council, the positions of candidates on this most fundamental of children’s rights will take prominence in the voting intentions of many Christians.
“We are calling on upper house candidates who will pledge to amend the Surrogacy Bill so that we don’t have a system of state-mandated fatherlessness or motherlessness.
“Whilst children are fatherless or motherless, mainly for reasons of tragedy or desertion, this is not something the state should decree for a child through legislation, which the Surrogacy Bill does,” Mr Brown said.
In the coming days the ACL will be sending questionnaires to all the candidates contesting the four upper house seats asking them for their views on a range of issues of concern to the Christian community, including whether candidates believe that surrogate children deserve to have a mum and a dad.
The responses to the questionnaires will be published on the ACL’s website and widely distributed to churches and individual Christians throughout the state.
“When responding to the questionnaire, we would encourage each of the candidates contesting the upper house elections to carefully consider whether the surrogacy model proposed by the government truly is in the best interests of children,” said Mr Brown.
ACL is opposed to all forms of surrogacy because of the well-documented confusion it causes for children who can end up with several adults having a biological and emotional stake in their birth and conception.
If the government is determined to legalise surrogacy, it should be restricted to infertile heterosexual couples, who can provide a child with the complementary love and care of a mum and a dad.
We would expect a children’s services minister and former child commissioner, both candidates, to understand the importance of ensuring the state does not mandate fatherlessness or motherlessness to a child.
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