Gay Dads concerned over surrogacy amendment

Gay Dads concerned over surrogacy amendment

Gay Dads Australia are concerned about an amendment to criminalise overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements.

Under Labor MP and Minister for Community Services Linda Burney’s amendment, NSW residents entering into overseas surrogacy arrangements could face up to two years in prison or a fine of $110,000 or both.

Burney has said the aim of the amendment is to protect poor women from being taken advantage of.

The Member for Sydney spoke in support of Burney’s amendment during debate in the Legislative Assembly last night where it was successfully attached to the bill along with another by Frank Sartor.

Gay Dads Australia Co-moderator Rodney Chiang-Cruise has called on people who are concerned by the legislation to contact Members of the Legislative Council before they pass the bill and ask them to oppose the amendment.

“Time is of the essence here,” said Chiang-Cruise, “If you care about the effects of this legislation … whether you live in NSW or not, please contact your Upper House members and the attorney general ASAP.”

“Explain why it is a bad idea and that there are already hundreds of children in NSW who will be stigmatised by such draconian legislation.”

Chiang-Cruise said that a source had told him that supporters of the bill had the numbers to pass the bill without the Burney amendment and that a number of parliamentarians had their own concerns about the amendment.

He urged concerned individuals to both email and call the offices of MLCs.

The bill could be debated in the Legislative Council as early as tonight or tomorrow.

Contact details for Members of the NSW Legislative Council can be found

Update 5:00pm debate on the bill has begun in the Legislative Council

Update 5:35pm Attorney General John Hatzistergos supported the bill as amended- clarified a question by ALP Linda Voltz that penalties were not retrospective to MPs and would not effect people who where a child was still in utero as a result of a current surrogacy arrangement.

ALPs Greg Donnelly supported both amendments despite opposing the original bill.

Nationals Trevor Khan spoke against the Burney bill reading from a letter from a constituent concerned that the bill would hurt children through denying them legal recognition. Suggested bill should be restricted to arrangements which were illegal in the country they were carried out.

David Shoebridge of the Greens spoke against the Burney and Sartor amendments.

Labor’s Christine Robertson supported the Sartor amendment and Burney amendment.

Fred Nile read from an email from Linda Burney and sought to have it incorporated into hansard- he supported both amendments.

Liberal John Ajaka spoke in favour of both amendments.

Liberal Matthew Mason-Cox spoke in favour of both amendments despite having opposed the bill in an earlier vote.

Gordon Moyes of Family First NSW supported both amendments despite earlier opposing the bill.

At 5:35 Trevor Khan moved an amendment to remove the effect of the Burney amendment from commercial surrogacy arrangements which are legal in the countries that they occur.

Labor’s Luke Foley then spoke in favour of both amendments.

Final Update: Labor’s Penny Sharpe said she would not oppose the Burney amendment despite having concerns it might act as a disincentive to parents who sought commercial surrogacy arrangements overseas from seeking parenting orders for their children which would leave legal responsibilities to those children unclarified.

Labor’s Greg Donnelly spoke in favour of the amendments again.

Labor’s Helen Westwood spoke of her comfort in supporting the Sartor amendment. She voiced concerns about the Burney amendment but would not oppose it in order to avoid having the legislation held up.

Trevor Khan’s amendment to remove commercial surrogacy arrangements in countries where they were legal from being covered by the bill was defeated 29-8.

The bill as amended by Sartor and Burney then passed the Legislative Council.

You May Also Like

10 responses to “Gay Dads concerned over surrogacy amendment”

  1. if commercial surrogacy was legalised and available in australia, it could be regulated, with no exploitation and everybody involved would be a winner.

  2. No doubt there are instances of exploitation in the third world, but the same goes for prostitution and we don’t criminalise that in NSW. I’m also doubtful that commercial surrogates in the US are all being exploited – what about a woman’s choice? Her body, her choice, right? And threatening intending parents with 2 years’ prison is totally inappropriate and unhelpful to anyone. Why not regulate to ensure appropriate safeguards are met? Criminalisation will just drive the practice underground, and then exploitation will sadly flourish.

  3. There are no woman in the third world eager to share their wombs, there are desperate and coerced woman in the third world forced by husbands, in laws and economics to risk their health and bare children for sale.

    The scale of the tragedy will become clear when the surrogate children reach adulthood and locate these woman and discover just what a labour intensive industry surrogacy is.

  4. What a shame that the world is not perfect. Everybody straight, everybody fertile, mum and dad at home raising the kids whilst working part time. “World Peace” in our time.

    Unfortunately some women in 3rd world countries, to better raise the children they already have, are eager to sell their labour after they have rented out their wombs.

    Western morality projected onto 3rd world countries will disadvantage the people the paternal moralists in our parliament are trying to protect.

  5. Paul and John, There isnt much “choice” for woman offering a baby for cash…much the same as it is illegal to sell or buy human organs like kidneys.

    But if we want to somehow “regulate” the practice, well why not have babies auctioned off, at least the desperate Mum’s will get the best price fir their wombs.

    Three cheers for parliament standing up to this most chilling of capitalist exploitations.

  6. I concur with Paul – how does this promote ‘the best interests of the child’?
    I understand the need to regulate and ensure humans aren’t exploited – but removing choice is sending us back to parochial Australia.
    Instead of criminalising family creation for both gay and straight couples, how about we penalise poor value and moral judgements of our society’s law-makers – it’s not what their constituents want or deserve.

    ps – it’s not about wealth in all cases, and even if it is, who makes us judge and jury. If someone is a surrogate for money, what is the difference between that and the day job that you hate – it’s still your choice to be there.

  7. The ban on entering into overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements has been passed. Whatever your view about the morality or ethics of this type of arrangement, the reality is that it exists in some parts of the world and it is becoming an increasingly common way for people to start a family where conventional means are not available. I cannot understand how prosecuting people who have children via this arrangement is going to promote a child’s best interests. Although I agree in some parts of the world where this arrangement is legal the word “exploitation” comes to mind, I think the better approach is just legalise it here and regulate it (as in California) with appropriate sufeguards such as counselling and support for the surrogate mother to ensure her well-being and informed consent.

  8. Jesse:-

    What is horrible is wealthy people – straight or gay – exploiting a woman’s poverty and desperation.

    Clover Moore and Linda Burney are quite right to take a stand against this most degrading exploitation – “wages for a womb”.

  9. The “overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements” clause is also included in the Queensland Surrogacy Act 2010 No 2.

    * The Australian Capital Territory also have this clause as well in the Parentage Act 2004.

    * Victoria does not has this clause in the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (but it did have that clause before 2008 by the now repealed Infertility Act 1995).

    * South Australia bans surrogacy arrangements for just singles and same sex couples under the Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy) Act 2009!!!

    * Tasmania bans both altruistic and commercial surrogacy arrangements under the Surrogate Contracts Act 1993.

    * Western Australia does not have that clause in the Surrogacy Act 2008.

    * There are no laws at all in the Northern Territory regarding surrogacy arrangements.

    * The Family Law Act 1975 under section 60HB also recognises surrogacy contracts.

    Also check this website out:

  10. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting. What about when a loving couple takes a child off a women who knows she cannot possibly take care of it?

    This is horrible and they must be stopped.