Monday, 2 November 2009

Draft Queensland surrogacy bill released

The Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick has released for comment the draft surrogacy bill. The draft bill, as previously detailed:
  • decriminalises and regulates altruistic surrogacy;
  • follows an ACT model to allow the intending parents to be named as the parents on the birth certificate;
  • outlaws commercial surrogacy;
  • includes same sex people as intended parents.

The Bill allows either single people or couples to be intended parents.

The Bill also allows for female partners of birth mothers to be recognised on the birth certificates, a change that was previously flagged.

The Bill contains a nasty clause banning commercial surrogacy. The ban does not cover just what happens in Queensland, but also if it happens anywhere in the world, or in the words of the Bill:

acts done outside Queensland if the offender is ordinarily resident in
Queensland at the time the act is done.

If an ordinary Queenslander decides to go to an overseas surrogacy clinic, such as in California or India, and enters or offers to enter into a commercial surrogacy arrangement, then the person commits an offence for which he or she could receive a fine or a 3 year jail term.

Queensland has been rightly criticised before this Bill for having the most regressive surrogacy legislation in the country: the Surrogate Parenthood Act 1988, which criminalises surrogacy whether it occurs in Queensland, or outside if undertaken by a person ordinarily resident in Queensland. This Bill makes it plain that Queenslanders will still be denied the choice of going to an overseas surrogacy clinic. The Bill therefore would seem to actively discriminate against gay men, who:

  • cannot have children;
  • are banned in Queensland from being able to adopt;
  • may have difficulty locating an altruistic surrogate;
  • and therefore believe that their only option is to go to an overseas clinic.

Unfortunately, the explanatory memorandum of the bill is silent about why it is appropriate for overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements to be banned.

Comment on the draft Bill is open until 10 November, 2009.

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