Monday, June 15, 2015

Remove discrimination in surrogacy and adoption: Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, an Abbott government appointee, has called for an end to State sanctioned discrimination against LGBTI people, including in the fields of surrogacy and adoption.

Surrogacy

On surrogacy, he points out that WA and SA discriminate on the basis of sexuality. In Western Australia married couples and heterosexual de facto couples, lesbian couples and single women can access surrogacy, but bizarrely gay couples and single men cannot.

In South Australia married and heterosexual couples can access surrogacy, but singles and same sex couples cannot. 

Commissioner Wilson states:
 
"While South Australia continues to deny unmarried women and same-sex couple’s access to fertility services, such access is now common place across the rest of Australia. However, in some states and territories assumptions in service delivery, policy restrictions and, in the case of surrogacy, legislative restrictions prevent some LGBTI people from accessing AHR service provision. For example in the Northern Territory women requires a medical diagnosis of infertility to access AHR services. Single women and women in same-sex relationships cannot access the service on the basis of ‘social infertility’ alone."

Surrogacy laws create increasingly complex public policy challenges for same-sex couples as well as governments. Apart from South Australia and Western Australia, all other states and territories allow same-sex couples to engage in altruistic surrogacy.... 

By comparison, commercial surrogacy is illegal across all of Australia. This has particular implications for gay male couples wishing to have biological children. While the issue of commercial surrogacy was controversial in the consultation, there was a general consensus that it required further exploration.
The consequences of nation-wide bans mean that many couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, go to foreign countries to seek commercial surrogacy arrangements.

This can have adverse outcomes for the surrogate and the child in the absence of regulation."


Adoption

Commissioner Wilson also exposed our hypocrisy. ALL our States and Territories are prepared to have LGBTI foster carers. ALL also recognise lesbian co-mothers as parents on birth certificates, but half do NOT accept LGBTI people as being fit to adopt: NT, Qld, SA and Victoria. Commissioner Wilson has called for this discrimination to be removed, especially in light of research that shows that same sex couples provide positive parenting outcomes for children 

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