FamilyVoice South Australia state officer David d’Lima has written to all SA lower house MPs asking them to reject the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Equality of Access) Amendment Bill 2012.
This bill, sponsored by Hon Ian Hunter MLC, passed the SA Legislative Council last year and is currently under debate in the SA House of Assembly.
“If passed, this Bill would enable many more single or lesbian women, who are fully fertile, to access assisted fertility treatment with help from SA taxpayers – thereby increasing the number of fatherless South Australian children,” David d’Lima said.
Current legislation restricts such access to a woman who ... is, or appears to be, infertile. But the bill would replace section 9(1)c(1) of the Act, pertaining to female infertility, with a new section 9(1)c(1), pertaining to the circumstances of a particular woman (clause 4). Thus the amendment would not relate to a physiological condition, but to circumstances shaped by lifestyle choice.
“The word treatment is in the name of the Act – since its key aim is to respond to a physiological problem. The shift from medical infertility to lifestyle choice effectively reworks the Act in a way contrary to its intention, which is to regulate medical treatment,” Mr d’Lima said.
David d’Lima pointed out that the proposed amendment would contradict Recommendation 3 in the 2005 Report of the Social Development Committee on the status of fathers in South Australia, which urges “the promotion of positive fathering and recognition of the value of fathers as parents”.
“The social disadvantage suffered by children raised in fatherless families has been well-documented,” he said. “This bill, if passed, would increase the number of children raised without the protection, provision, nurture and example which fathers ideally provide. It would put the wishes of adults ahead of the best interests of children – all at taxpayers' expense.”
On 21 March 2013 Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave a heartfelt apology to mothers whose babies had been removed at birth by coercive adoption policies. She also apologised to the children of those mothers, saying: “You deserved the chance to know, and love, your mother and father.” She described past practices as “cruel and immoral”.
She said to the child victims: “We acknowledge that many of you still experience a constant struggle with identity, uncertainty and loss…”
“These words echo a large 2010 study of donor-conceived children who, even more than adopted children, felt identity confusion as adults,” David d’Lima said. “The 485 donor-conceived children in the study had been loved and wanted, but nevertheless had higher levels of depression and substance abuse than children raised by both their natural parents – higher even than children raised by adoptive parents.” [Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D Glenn, Karen Clark, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation”, Commission on Parenthood’s Future, New York, May 2010]
Julia Gillard also apologised to the fathers who were victims of forced adoption policies. She said: “To you, the fathers, who were excluded from the lives of your children and deprived of the dignity of recognition on your children’s birth records, we say sorry. We acknowledge your loss and grief.” Yet already in SA, children raised by lesbian couples do not have the names and details of their fathers on their birth certificates.
“If our Prime Minister felt the need for such an apology to the victims of forced adoption, how much more would a future Prime Minister feel the need to apologise to child victims of legislation such as the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Equality of Access) Amendment Bill?” David d’Lima said.
“This legislation would allow the deliberate creation of more children to fulfil the desires of certain women to raise children who will never know their fathers, and whose fathers will never be listed on their birth certificates, despite contributing to half of those children’s identities. To use Ms Gillard’s words on 21 March, this practice is both ‘cruel and immoral’.”
- Family and parenthood