Thursday, 9 February 2017

South Australian shadow Attorney-General calls for commercial surrogacy

The South Australian Deputy Opposition Leader, and shadow Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, has called for commercial surrogacy to be legalised, to minimise the number of intended parents going to develpoing countries for surrogacy. She did this in a debate about reform of that State's IVF and surrogacy laws so that they are non-discriminatory.

Ms Chapman said:

"We are not dealing with all the issues that go to surrogacy in this bill, and I think that is a shame. I think we need to, and the sooner we do the better. My personal view is that to do it we are going to have to actually except the fact that if we are going to ask a female person to undertake this role and responsibility—which is a major sacrifice—then a fee ought to be able to be paid for that purpose. Otherwise, couples in Australia will continue to go to other countries, exploit other people, pay the fee and not be required to sign up to levels of responsibility that I think we should insist on here.
Let us make that an area of reform that we do address, and that we do try to make sure we protect women in exploitable circumstances in other countries, that we do not allow a situation to prevail in Australia where it is prohibitive for many to undertake this role, just to be repaid their expenses.

I remember that when I was in early adulthood sometimes my sisters—and I have plenty of them—would say to me, 'What would you do in this situation? If one of us couldn't have children would you have a baby for us?' As a sister I said I would, I would do that; if I were fertile (which I happened to be) then that would be something I would do. It was a personal commitment, but not everyone has an available sibling or friend who is prepared to do that.
I think it is important that we have a chance to have control over the terms and conditions the women are in so that they are not exploited, so that the children who are born are protected against circumstances of either abandonment or exploitation. It is time we addressed that. I know it is very hard to get things through without government approval supporting things in this parliament, because it has to go through two houses of parliament, but we do try—and I have a list of bills tomorrow for private member's bills. Every now and again we get one up, but the point is that we do need the government's blessing.
In an area of comprehensive reform such as this, I think it is a missed opportunity for the government to fix it. It is well known. It is an issue that other jurisdictions are starting to deal with, but it seems that the government has had a bit of a hands-off approach to this, other than dealing with a certain group in the community who are seeking status and recognition, which of course is our LGBTIQ community—not unimportant, but it is not the only thing that needs to be fixed. We do need to address this matter."

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