March 11th 2000

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL - What’s wrong with Australia’s defence?

Has Beazley got the "ticker" for a tough line on GST?

AS THE WORLD TURNS - Virtue: private and public

COVER STORY - People on the move: vexed question for government, nation

BOOKS: The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, by Richard Sennett

NATIONAL AFFAIRS - Democrat’s "genocide" bill could put almost everyone in prison

NATIONAL AFFAIRS - Borrowed money, borrowed time

ECONOMICS - WTO stumbles as Third World rebels

COMMENT - Should homosexual couples have access to IVF services?

VICTORIA - Return of the Rust Bucket state?

IRIAN JAYA - Can Indonesia head off push for Papuan independence?

MEDICINE - Medical Journal has no space for criticism of Hepatitis C report

HISTORY: When, where and why 85 million people died

Books promotion page

Should homosexual couples have access to IVF services?

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, March 11, 2000
A recent court case involving a baby conceived by IVF for two lesbians has reopened the issue of homosexual access to children. A Melbourne court decided in late February that two lesbians had not mislead an IVF treatment centre. Six-month-old Hayden lives with the two lesbians, but was conceived with sperm donated by a male homosexual friend of the couple.

The women have now called upon the Victorian State government to reform its IVF legislation to allow homosexuals access. Presently the law only allows married heterosexual couples and de facto couples access.

The doctor who helped the lesbian and her homosexual friend to conceive, Dr John McBain, has joined them in urging legislative change. He would like the Infertility Treatment Act to be altered to allow homosexuals the same access as other couples. He argued that the State legislation violates Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation.

State Attorney General Rob Hulls is already looking at reviewing this and related legislation to grant homosexuals special rights. Also, the Health Minister, John Thwaites, has announced the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Gay and Lesbian Health.

This Committee will seek action "to ensure optimal access to all relevant mainstream, and where appropriate, specialist health services". Access to IVF, in other words, will be an obvious goal.

These proposed changes once again highlight profound challenges to the institutions of marriage and family. While it is regrettable when anyone experiences infertility, there is no "right to reproduce". This is especially so when individuals choose a lifestyle that guarantees such a fate. By choosing to enter into a homosexual relationship, two individuals have taken themselves outside of nature's means of conception. Of course all of that has changed with the new bio-technologies, such as IVF and artificial insemination, and perhaps soon, cloning.

But such a push by the homosexual community is another example of the focus given to the rights of adults, at the expense of others. The ever expanding list of rights demanded by adults which takes no consideration f corresponding responsibilities is a cause of genuine alarm. What about the rights of the greater community?

And, especially in this case, what about the rights of the child? Indeed, the poor child has no means to offer his opinion on the subject.

The child will grow up without a father to provide a role model for his development. He will have at least two mums, and a homosexual sperm donor as a biological parent. Such moral and social confusion will be a chain around his neck.

But the two lesbians argue that there is love in the family, and that is all that matters. But in this brave new world of transformed families, why stop there? If a father loves his teenage daughter, and vice versa, can they too have kids? Why stop with lesbians and homosexuals? If the family is being redefined in such a manner, there is no logical limit.

Indeed, this burgeoning 'rights' industry needs to be challenged. Who says there is a right to reproduce? And who says homosexuals have a right to children? Biologically speaking, homosexuals no more have a right to children than I have a right to be ten feet tall. Nature has made it clear that homosexuals have no reproductive rights.

If a person chooses to enter into a relationship which biologically precludes children, it is silly to talk about being denied the right to have a child. Homosexuals have made that decision for themselves. If they like, they can choose to reenter the world of normal heterosexual relationships and thus avail themselves of the possibility of reproduction. But it is an abuse of the term 'rights' to place oneself out of the sphere in which such a 'right' can take place. As C.S. Lewis once put it, "We castrate, and then command the geldings to be fruitful".

When IVF treatment first became available in Victoria it was restricted to married couples. Only later were de factos couples allowed access. Now the push is being made for homosexuals to have access as well. One is tempted to ask, who's next? The point is, as numerous surveys and polls have demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of Victorians are against granting homosexuals access to children.

Yet the homosexual lobby wants to ride roughshod over the beliefs and sensitivities of mainstream society. Once again the rights of certain individuals (the adults) are being paraded while the rights of others (the child, and the community) are being overlooked. Given all the research we now have about the dangers children can face in non-natural families, a decision to alter the IVF legislation will only result in more harm to children.

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