TITLE

Active Fathers, Natural Families and Children's Origins: Dominant Themes in the Australian Political Debate over Eligibility for Assisted Reproductive Technology

AUTHOR(S)
Dempsey, Deb
PUB. DATE
May 2006
SOURCE
Acta Botanica Mexicana;2006, p28
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Extending eligibility criteria for assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to lesbian and single heterosexual women is a controversial topic in Australia. The media debate after the 2000 legal judgment, McBain versus Victoria, and the content of submissions to the 2003-06 Victorian law reform process indicate the extent to which many Australians ostensibly disapprove of unconventional family forms. In this paper, three dominant themes in contributions to the public debate and law reform process are analysed--'active' fathering, the distinction between social and medical infertility, and children's right-to-know their biological origins. The paper argues these themes reveal very different concerns that do not necessarily reflect homophobia or concerns specific to lesbian or single heterosexual family formation. First, the notion that children have a right to a social father reveals much about gendered contestations in heterosexual parenthood. Second, appeals to social/medical infertility and natural families reveal the continuing influence of Christian views about God-given natural law. Third, the strength of opinion about children's rights to knowledge of their biological origins emphasises the value placed on biogenetic notions of relatedness even by those more accepting of unconventional family configurations.
ACCESSION #
23901330

 

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