July 10th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Julia Gillard's long-term agenda

CANBERRA OBSERVED: No easy policy options for new PM Julia Gillard

Shuffling the deck-chairs leaves key issues unresolved

Feminist-backed push to disadvantage parentcare

HOUSING: Rampant divorce pricing young couples out of homes

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Have we reached the end of the beginning?

LEGAL AFFAIRS: Move to centralise control of the legal profession

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Beijing's softly, softly approach to Taiwan, Hong Kong

CHINA: China labour activism heralds profound change

EUROPEAN UNION: EU President admits people misled by euro project

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Suppressing the truth about maternal deaths

Meet the new family, digitally deluged

PARENTHOOD: No man will ever replace a real mum

Vietnam veterans (letter)

Tony Abbott and his faith (letter)

New states deserve support (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Who jails and tortures the most journalists on earth?; US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan

BOOK REVIEW: A RAT IS A PIG IS A DOG IS A BOY: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, by Wesley J. Smith

BOOK REVIEW: WAR IN THE PACIFIC, 1941-1945, by Richard Overy

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No man will ever replace a real mum

by Catherine Sheehan

News Weekly, July 10, 2010
We should never do anything to compromise the fact that the love of a mother can be one of the most powerful forces in nature.

A woman's body is equipped to carry a child for nine months, to give birth and also to breastfeed. The very act of breastfeeding fosters a close bond between mother and child. Clearly, therefore, nature intends a child to have a mother.

Few people would deny that mothers have a special place in our lives and that every child deserves the chance to have a mother.

I could not help feeling sad when I watched the TV scenario of the baby girl adopted by the gay couple on the TV show Modern Family.

The little girl represents many who will never know the joy of being snuggled in their mothers' arms. Sure, she will have two dads who can perform many of the functions that a mother can, but even 20 loving and caring dads could never make up for not having a mum.

There is something highly disturbing about deliberately creating a family with the intention that there will be no female parent.

This is precisely why Mother's Day is so special. Why do we shower our mums with presents and flowers? If a man can be a substitute for a mum, then Mother's Day would be meaningless.

However, Mother's Day is profoundly meaningful to many people and this is testimony to the importance of mothers and the special and unique place they have in our hearts and in our lives.

With the damage that we humans have caused to the environment, we should be more cautious about messing with nature, especially when it comes to the family unit.

The only natural way of producing a baby is through the union of a man and a woman. Therefore, nature obviously intends all children to have both a mum and a dad.

I'm sure same-sex couples who want to adopt have good intentions, but what about all the good heterosexual couples desperately waiting to adopt a child?

Why would anyone want to rob a child of the wonderful experience of having a mum? All those little, everyday things my mother did that I used to take for granted but that I now look back on with fondness: mum waiting to pick us up after school, mum cooking our favourite meals, mum listening to our problems. To all these tasks, a mother brings a uniquely feminine approach.

It is not enough to have a close female friend of the family, as a child needs a mum. I suspect many mums would be offended if told they could easily be replaced in their child's life by a man. Moreover, it is highly offensive to suggest that a woman can be substituted by any man, whether he is gay or straight.

Feminists claim we need more women in parliament, more women in big business, yet when it comes to the most important role of all, raising a future citizen, we say it's fine for there to be two dads but no mum.

It's all very well for those who have a mum to say there's nothing wrong with a child having two dads and no mum, but they're not the guinea pigs, are they?

Who are we to use the next generation of children as the subject of our social engineering experiments? The needs of children will always be more important than political correctness.

When creating laws about who can adopt children, the prime issue is the needs and rights of children, not of adults.

Whether parents are adoptive or biological, a child needs and deserves both a mum and a dad. To deny the importance of mums is to denigrate both women and motherhood.

Catherine Sheehan is a Melbourne writer. This article first appeared in the Herald Sun (Melbourne), June 16, 2010.

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