Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just.... Bullshit.

This story makes me sick.

Basically, the State Government is seeking to pass legislation that will demand criminal checks from people undergoing IVF procedures. INCLUDING Cancer patients who are having eggs harvested and frozen.

Premier John Brumby is defending the move by stating that since access to IVF was becoming more "liberal" (read: non-discrimnatory), the Government "needed to look at what is in the best interest of the child"

So this is what will end up happening: Cancer patients who often have a very limited time frame to be able to harvest eggs (Mr Brumby, are you aware that you can't just go in and whip them out? That you need to undergo hormone treatment over a period of time to get the eggs to maturation before you retrieve them? That you can't start Cancer Treatments whilst you're doing this and vice-versa?) before undergoing Cancer treatments that may render them infertile will now potentially be faced with two options:

* Wait until the check is completed, then harvest the eggs, possibly delaying Cancer treatment
* Proceed with Cancer treatment and give up the option of having a biological child.

That is, in a word, fucked.

Until the State Government passes legislation that demands that every parent of any child - regardless of whether they are conceived naturally or through infertility procedures - has their right to have children removed if they don't pass these criminal checks, this law will be discriminatory.

It discriminates against the infertile. It discriminates against same-sex partners, and worst of all - people who are undergoing life-saving treatment- all as a sop to those who don't want access to IVF broadened.

The State Government is proposing we punish every infertile couple, Cancer patient of child-bearing age, and same-sex couple in this State because of the religious objections of a few.

Isn't this exactly what Governments are supposed to be protecting us against?


Nic said...

I agree if that is the case it is wrong, but reading the Bill, I can't see that the legislation applies to storing ova. The criminal checks only apply to "assisted reproductive treatment", which is not defined to include harvesting or storage.

The criminal checks seem to me to be a bad idea - a child born through ART is no different from anyother child. If there is a bad parenting situation, the child welfare agencies should be able to sort it out.

The bill is here:

lauredhel said...

The bill is here; the Sentencing Act referred to is here.

Note that clause 1 of Schedule 1, which would trigger a "Deeee-nied", seems to include both statutory rape of someone under 16 (so includes a 17 year old sleeping with their 15 year old partner), but also buggery.

I'm about as anti-rape as it's possible to get, but I still don't believe that having anal sex should forever revoke your breeding licence.

Secondly, there's the general principle: the fact that this Bill would be invoking a governmentally-controlled breeding licence. How anyone can fail to be horrified at the implications of that is just... beyond me.

Keri said...

Nic - I'm not sure, because the terminology in the definitions of the act is extremely precise, but isn't complete.

It states that it covers any "related treatment prescribed by the regulations", but doesn't state what those "related treatments are"

The way it reads, I'm not sure if it's solely the transfer of oocytes, or if follitism injections would also be covered, or triggering shots - would they be related procedures? I don't know.

It specifically references IVF and by the looks of it IUI, but doesn't make reference of what "related procedures" actually are.

Lauredhel - That's right. Unless the general population is also subject to this restriction when it comes to conceiving and carrying a child, it's discriminatory. The act makes reference to religion, race etc, but doesn't make provision for not discriminating on the basis of infertility itself.

And thank you both for the links.