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Sunday, 23 June 2019 20:15

Sperm donor recognised as father

This week the High Court of Australia handed down a fascinating decision on the question as to whether a sperm donor can be recognised as the legal parent of a child born through artificial insemination.

Published in IVF & Surrogacy
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 10:12

Children Go to the Back of the Queue

That the West has a schizophrenic view of children and their wellbeing is an understatement. We go on and on about not separating children from their parents, as in debates over refugees and asylum seekers, but we extol as a human right the slaughter of unborn children.

Published in Feminism

This is the first part of a series of articles written by Neil Foster about the Ruddock Review's leaked contents. The subsequent articles can be accessed at Neil website, here.  

A media outlet here in Australia has released what it says are the 20 recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom chaired by the Hon Philip Ruddock. The Report itself was delivered to the Government in May 2018, but has not officially been released. Apparently the Government is planning to release the Report at the same time as announcing its official response. The main issue which has generated controversy during the last week, in which there was a selective leaking of some of the recommendations, were proposals dealing with the rights of religious schools to take into account the sexual orientation of students in certain areas. The changes proposed were not radical changes to the existing law, but were presented as such when first publicised. In this post I want to briefly set these recommendations in context and offer my preliminary response.
Published in Religious Freedom

Debbie Garratt has had many years of involvement in counselling women and has observed, first-hand, similarities in the grief experienced by both post-abortive women and women who lost their children to adoption. This article is intended to urge pro-lifers to consider the impact of adoption on biological parents and their children. It is not meant to judge or shame those couples who have adopted and often made great sacrifices to do so, but should serve to draw attention to the deep loss experienced by adopted children.

Monday, 16 July 2018 16:45

Reforming the Contraception Mentality

Those even on the periphery of the Catholic world are likely to be aware that this July marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Humanae Vitae. That controversial Catholic document, authored by Pope Paul VI, created a demarcation line between orthodox and liberal Catholics over the issue of contraception. And that demarcation has continued to this day. It is often sadly acknowledged within Catholic circles that if the advice given in Humanae Vitae, and its forerunner, Casti Conubii, had been faithfully promulgated by all priests and obediently followed by the laity, then today's astoundingly high abortion rate could never have been realised.

Published in Contraception

Abortion activists are at it again, attempting to introduce bubble-zones around New South Wales abortion facilities. As stated many times on this website, these so-called 'safe-access zones', also known as exclusion zones, are designed to stop advocates for life from offering assistance to desperate women who feel pressured to abort their children. They also hamper the freedom of political communication which should exist in a free society like Australia. Exclusion-zone law, very similar to that being proposed in New South Wales will be under the scrutiny of the High Court of Australia this year due to our legal challenge. Any politician who is realistic about the fiscal and time constraints that apply to our parliamentary system wouldn't dream of introducing legislation that has a constitutional cloud hanging over it.

World-renowned speaker, Jason Evert, was in Melbourne this week for a series of talks on the true nature of love. Jason has spoken to more than one million people about the virtue of chastity and has been a keynote speaker at five World Youth Days. He has written several books, including “Theology of the Body for Teens” and “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul,” and has studied counselling and theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was my great pleasure to meet him and ask him a few questions about how a return to chastity can put the brakes on the abortion culture.

Published in Abortion

The controversies over the so-called Safe Schools programs in Australia are simply a reflection of a much bigger war. For many decades now activists have sought to target our children especially through the school system. Various sex education programs and the like have been used to push radical sexual agendas. All this did not just happen. It has been promoted and pushed by sexual ideologies and ideologues who have been active since early last century. The sexual revolutionaries have been quite busy, and they helped pave the way for things like the contemporary Safe Schools programs.

Published in Sexual Revolution

All sources used in this article are either medical or secular, so there can be no accusation of a pro-life bias. Abortion providers and advocates are very eager these days to push Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (or LARCS) onto their patients. There have been more than a few studies on their use and uptake, with an abundance of advice for practitioners on how to increase their sales. It's been of particular interest to me, to note that abortion providers are very keen to fit women with LARCS right after an abortion.

Published in Contraception
Monday, 19 February 2018 16:27

Adoption Versus Surrogacy

Many people arguing for the moral and social legitimacy of surrogacy will rather recklessly throw out the issue of adoption, believing that the two are quite similar things. But the truth is, they could not be more different. This is especially noticeable when we focus the discussion on children and their wellbeing. The main difference certainly involves the children themselves. In adoption there is a need for children to be looked after, so substitute parents are brought in to look after them. In surrogacy there are no children involved – at first. They are deliberately created, or manufactured, to satisfy adult desires. As one relinquishing mother put it, “In adoption, a family sought a child in need of a family. In surrogacy, you are creating children for adults’ needs.” Moreover, in adoption legislation, the interests of the child are clearly paramount, something which is not the case in surrogacy. As one bioethicist puts it:

Adoption standards and practice have been constantly revised and refined in the light of new understandings developing in the field. . . . It is illegal to take a consent to adoption prior to the birth of the child, for the reason that a woman cannot be expected to make a lifelong decision for herself and her baby in the vacuum of the non-existence of the child.
As Kevin Andrews has remarked: “Adoption is a community response to the necessitous circumstances of a child already conceived and born, which differs markedly to the circumstances of a child conceived and born for the purpose of transfer to another couple”. Ethicist Leon Kass says this: “We practice adoption because there are abandoned children who need good homes. We do not, and would not, encourage people deliberately to generate children for others to adopt.” Or as Maggie Gallagher has put it:
Surrogate contracts and adoptions are not comparable. Adoption is the fulfilment, not the negation, of parental responsibility. Especially in a country where abortion is cheap and easy, when a woman gives her baby up for adoption she has thereby acknowledged her obligations to her child. Almost always, adoption is part of a conscious attempt to do what is best for the child. The surrogate mother does not admit she has any special obligations to her child; she does not admit that it is hers. The child cannot obligate her, she obligates it: It is a product, conceived for sale and use.
David Blankenhorn also adds his voice to the fundamental nature of adoption:
Adoption is a wonderfully pro-child act. Adults respond to a child’s loss with altruistic, healing love. . . . Adoption does not deny but in fact presupposes the importance of natural parents. For this reason, despite all the good it does, adoption is ultimately a derivative and compensatory institution. It is not a stand-alone good, primarily because its existence depends upon prior human loss.
Natural parents of course largely disappear in surrogacy arrangements. Ethicist David VanDrunen discusses the differences found between adoption and surrogacy. He speaks about the moral question we must face as to “whether we ought intentionally to create situations in which biological links between generations are attenuated, confused, or even ruptured. In essence, third-part-parenthood arrangements intentionally create adoption scenarios.” But this is how they differ. Adoption, he says, is “a charitable act that rescues abandoned and orphaned children.” He continues:
Surely it is a charitable act – precisely because we recognise these children’s tragic circumstances. In an ordinary adoption situation the adoptive parents are responding to a child’s tragic situation and seeking to bring good out of it. In a third-party-parent arrangement, however, the parents are creating a child’s tragic situation, a situation in which he will be taken away from his birth mother or be raised by someone other than his biological mother or father.
And Jessica Kerns, a product of surrogacy, whom I mention above, also explains why we are dealing with apples and oranges here:
It really is the buying and selling of babies, and the commodification of women’s bodies. There’s a huge difference between the adoption world and the donor-conceived world. [The] institution [of adoption] was not … created for the parents, to give them a kid. It was created for the opposite, to put children in a home, because they’re here already and we’re responding to a catastrophe. Donor-conceived [children], we’re creating them with the intent of separating them from their biology, and you know … it’s vastly different.
Bioethicist John Ling offers us the big picture on all this, and is well worth quoting from here. He says:
Should we view surrogacy not only as the commissioning mother wanting a child, but also as the surrogate mother – and in law, she is the legal mother – not wanting her child? She has deliberately embarked on a pregnancy with the clear intention that she will abandon her baby. The birth of any child is surrounded by a spectrum of emotions, perhaps none stronger than that of the mother’s love for the child she has carried and delivered. The surrogate knowingly sets out to ignore these natural instincts. Furthermore, can a commissioning mother develop this maternal love without the psychological and physical springs of this bonding, namely, pregnancy and childbirth? Surrogacy is not like adoption. The great difference is that adoption seeks to enhance the love for, and security of, the child. Surrogacy has the long-term, premeditated intention of just the opposite. It should be shunned.
One lobby group, Them Before Us, is quite concerned about this and the other new reproductive technologies. Katy Faust reminds us once more what the core issue is here. It is all about the child. The interests of the child should always be paramount here. As she says in an article highlighting the differences between surrogacy and adoption:
Them Before Us supports adoption, when it is properly understood. Adoption must always be viewed as a child-centric institution, not simply as a means for adults to have children. No adult – heterosexual, homosexual, or single – has a “right” to adopt. Rather, every child has a right to parents. In adoption, the intended parents are not the clients. The child is the client.
Published in IVF & Surrogacy
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