Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ms Hayes on same-sex parenting and “the ultimate Indian outsourcing industry”

Report transcript:
see the comment of 4.6.09 / 2pm here:

Three Sunday nights ago, Channel 9’s 60 Minutes programme had a report on India’s surrogacy trade featuring none other than the pair of sodomites on whose baby procurement I reported in this post. A transcript of the 60 Minutes report, fronted by Ms Liz Hayes, is now available at the programme’s website, and I also decided to break my abstinence from things televisual in order to watch this report on the night it aired and see how these two buggers would defend their decision to raise two children without a mother’s love (and indeed, to prevent these two children—twin girls—from ever even knowing their biological mother). Surely it is only fair to expect some kind of explanation for what is, at the very least, a highly irregular arrangement, and as Ms Hayes notes, the

story began four years ago in the suburbs of Melbourne. Peter [West] and Trevor [Elwell] were in a serious relationship, both successful in work, Peter runs a small business from home and Trevor is an IT consultant. And they share a comfortable home.
So these two *grits teeth* gentlemen *ungrits teeth* have had four years to prepare for any questions that might come their way, and appear to be fairly comfortable in dealing with the media. But the best which they could come come up with was this:

TREVOR ELWELL: But our lives are so embedded with friends, family that have children, it [the fact that the two ‘co-parents’ are both male] just did not seem an issue.
This was pretty much what they offered in the Sydney Morning Herald report on which I commented a while ago:

"We've thought long and hard about this and have put everything in place to make sure we can give these children everything they need - including plenty of girlfriends who are cat-fighting over who will be godmother," Mr Elwell said.
I will outline the case against the notion that all that matters is that children have role models of the same sex as themselves, regardless of whether those role models are ‘live-in’ ones or just ‘aunties and uncles’, shortly. In the 60 Minutes report they also invoke the reliable ‘no parents are perfect’ red herring:

TREVOR ELWELL: […] We're just content and happy. We're a good couple, weregood people we'll do as good or bad job as any old heterosexual father, mother, you know, we'll make the same mistakes.
But we’re not asking for perfect parents, just ones for whom the very constitution of their relationship does not flout the natural law and thus make the parents incapable of demonstrating credibly the difference between good—that which suits the nature of the thing desiring it—and evil.

Ms Hayes goes on to ask how the two sodomites will explain their decisions to the twin girls who are the victims of this illicit adoption:

LIZ HAYES: How will you tell your children or are you just going to let them work it out?

TREVOR ELWELL: There's no hiding the fact that we're two guys. They're gonna grow up finding this totally normal until they see otherwise and then, you know, when they start asking questions we'll give them the answers.

LIZ HAYES: Yeah, they're pretty big issues for kiddies, aren't they?


LIZ HAYES: Gay dads, donor eggs, surrogate, India.


LIZ HAYES: You've got answers?

TREVOR ELWELL: Getting answers. Step by step.
“Yep”, “Yeah”, “Getting answers”? You’ve had four years to ‘get’ your ‘answers’, yet you’re just making it up as you go along, ‘step by step’?! Surely it was Ms Hayes duty as a journalist to probe more deeply into this anomaly, the crux of the matter, at this point, yet instead she ends this line of questioning right when it should have been beginning. At least if she’d got the Cruise/Chang sodomites (read the combox to this post of mine) on the show then the viewing public could have seen the true face of this despicable practice: the pair would have dug in their heels and started whining about how we have ‘no right’ to expect any answers from them and would have swiftly changed the subject to the existence of God!

Next, Ms Hayes says

LIZ HAYES: Having your own children is now possible for so many for whom this once could never be. It's just a matter of price. Love it or hate it, there's no stopping it. Although in this case it's easy to see that these babies are truly treasured.
(my emphasis)
Interesting, that: “truly treasured”. There’s no doubt that most sodomites will provide their illicitly-adopted children with adequate or more than adequate food, clothing and shelter and will lavish expensive trinkets upon them in ostentatious displays of affection (on entering the nursery which the pair had prepared for the twins Ms Hayes exclaimed “Oh my goodness, it looks like a shop”), but how can these sodomites be regarded as ‘truly treasuring’ these little girls when they have set out from the beginning to deny to them the best access—i.e. stable, day-to-day domestic access—to female role models (which, as I’ve noted, Mr. Elwell and Mr. West both agree are necessary)? To love someone is to desire the highest good for him or her; how, then, can these men say to these girls ‘we love you, but not enough to give you in the highest degree what we know to be good for you’?

The fertility specialist who “runs what he describes as "a baby factory"” didn’t perform much better. Here is his rationale:

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: I believe every human being has a right to procreate and as long as I'm practising medicine within the Indian law, you know, I would offer this service to anybody.

LIZ HAYES: So single men, single


LIZ HAYES: Gay couples?


LIZ HAYES: Anyone who can't have a baby comes to you?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Yes, and we are getting more and more complex cases.
Of course people have a right to try to procreate, but not by trampling all over the rights of children and the natural law. Later on, Ms Hayes asks him

LIZ HAYES: Do you ever stop and think about the children that you're creating and the complex way that they're being brought into the world?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Maybe I'm too busy doing making babies now, I haven't really sat down and contemplated and thought.

LIZ HAYES: Isn't it morally proper for us to consider the children?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Isn't it morally right that every human being is entitled to propagate his own genes?

LIZ HAYES: But aren't these children burdened, before they draw their first breath?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: I don't think so. Because the world is changing rapidly. By the time they are adults, by the time they grow up I think this will be the norm rather than an exception.
For Dr. Allahbadia, then, the children are quite secondary; they are commodities for satisfying the wants of prospective parents.

As for Ms Hayes, here is what she thinks of what she calls “the ultimate Indian outsourcing industry”:

It's a complicated and emotionally charged issue for everyone.

Dip your toe into the argument about the rights and wrongs of children brought into the world this way and prepare for a battle royal. I'm already suffering a nasty chaffing from the fence I know I'm straddling, but really, I don't know if this is a good or bad thing.

Plenty will tell you that making babies this way doesn't lessen their commitment or love for their children. Quite the opposite.

Perhaps it's because it's a business, I feel this unease. I'm not sure.

What I am sure of is it's a reality … and it isn't going away.
It seems then that the reporter’s own views are completely incoherent too.

So Mr. Elwell, Mr. West, Dr. Allahbadia and Ms Hayes have all failed to justify this practice; perhaps commenters at the 60 Minutes report’s blog will be able to argue, to the satisfaction of the critical thinker, the case for the commercialisation and androgynisation of parenting. Guess again:

religious bigotry is the epitamy [sic] of all things bad
Posted by: John, Perth, on 2/06/2009 5:11:56 AM

It is and i should know, being raised in a strict religious conservative family being told that homosexuality is evil and disgusting and wrong, what a load of rubbish, people including religious bigots need to mind their own dam business and stop sticking their fat ugly bigoted noses into other peoples business.
Mmm, thanks for that contribution John. There was I thinking that it is entirely proper for people to show concern for the welfare of other children, but there’ll be none of that ‘common good’ nonsense around here if John has his way, no-sir-ee.

As long as they are loved
Posted by: Jazz, Perth, on 31/05/2009 11:39:29 PM

As long as children are loved and cared for - it doesn't matter who brings up the child.
Really? Not a jot? How about three parents then, or four parents, or five?

Eveleyn and Gaia are lucky to have two loving parents to bring them up.

Luckier with three parents though, surely? If ‘all you need is luv’ then the more sources of that luv the better, right? Why limit the number of parents to an arbitrary, heteronormative number like two?

How they were conceived is irrelevant.

So the end justifies the means. Got it. Good to know where people are coming from. And then she alludes to the old ‘maybe same-sex couples are even better than opposite-sex couples!’ line:

In fact, it just means their parents tried harder than most couples to achieve their dream.
Couples who kidnap other peoples’ children certainly try very hard, but that doesn’t mitigate the injustice of it.

Well done to the bigots. Another excuse to have a
Posted by: morgan, Maroubra, on 31/05/2009 8:08:41 PM

[…] To the rest of you it is none of your business to comment, what about all of the children of broken homes? Are those poor souls better off then a child in my loving household? I really feel that people just need to get on with their own concerns and stop bothering themselves in OUR business . My beautiful partner and I plan to call this doctor, in the near future, so we too can have an EQUAL right to a beautiful family of our own.
So here we have a bit more ‘it’s none of your business, it’s all about US’ together with an apples-and-oranges comparison: what about children from broken homes, he asks? But surely we need to compare intact same-sex couples with intact opposite-sex couples or broken same-sex couples with broken opposite-sex couples, not some combination biased in favour of same-sex couples. (This kind of logical fallacy was also invoked in a viewer’s letter read during the mail segment on 60 Minutes of the next week (which I did not see myself):

Which would you rather, an alcoholic mother having kids to her junkie boyfriend, or two loving adults, who just happen to be gay, raising children who are planned-for and wanted?
What silliness.)

Another commenter took this rather curious approach:

Babies for gay men
Posted by: whitepointer, Perth, on 30/05/2009 3:39:27 PM

[…] There is another line of thought here. What if one of the gay men is an only child. Not only can they be denied having a child to love, so can the prospective grandparents.
But as New South Wales adoption laws make clear, adoption is not a service for parents—we aren’t talking about a parents’ rights issue here, it’s a matter of children’s rights. So if we know that considerations of parents’ desires are secondary, then why bring grandparents’ desires into it?

Posted by: Diane, Hunter Valley NSW, on 29/05/2009 12:31:11

Further. COMMENT- Every child has the right to a MOTHER and a father- whether they do a good job or not. MY RESPONSE- The children like so many will grow up in a family without a mother, this does not mean they will grow up without a female role model, if these men have the best interest of their children at heart, and I believe they do, they will provide strong role models in the form of family members and friends.
But when one acknowledges, as all but the most doctrinaire of feminists do*, that children need first-hand experience of role models from their own gender the question arises (a question which I’ve asked on another occasion): why, then, would prospective same-sex parents want to deny their potential children the closest and most stable mode of access to these role models, where this mode of access is, of course, the one that follows naturally from an avowed commitment between two opposite-sex parents? Even with godparents (to whom Mr. Elwell referred), the promises that the godparents make do not involve day-to-day domestic contact between the godparent and the godson or goddaughter, so as important as godparents are they are not substitutes (or are no longer substitutes, and even when they were, only in the case of the premature death of the natural parents) for the example provided by ‘live-in’ role models.

(* But even if one argues that gender roles are pure social constructs and hence role models are necessary only in the sense of providing a sort of gender-neutral pattern of ethical and virtuous behaviour for children to follow, the fact remains that boys relate more easily to male role models, and vice versa for girls—ask them to list the ten people whom they most look up to and I suspect that the majority, and probably all ten, will be the same sex as the child. So role models of the same sex as the child are still indispensable, and the more proximate and regular the contact with the role models the better, so opposite-sex couples are still superior to comparable same-sex couples.)

You're Kidding me right?
Posted by: Mel, Perth, on 27/05/2009 11:06:26

[…] i never grew up with a father - but I like to believe I'm a decent human being, basically you are saying anyone who is bought up with no mother or father will have a terrible life.. rahrah.. which is absolute rubbish. Those two girls will be happy as anything as long as they have love, and not abusive parents, which many seem to have these days. I highly doubt they will be treated any less than princesses because of the heartache these two have had to gone through to achieve getting what everyone wants - a family. So you can spout all you want about how society is 'discusting' but it is people like yourselves that make society so unapealing.
So Mel erects the straw man of “[opponents of same-sex parents] are saying anyone who is bought up with no mother or father will have a terrible life”. Nonsense. We are just saying that they would have had a better life with a mother and a father because they would have had have live-in role models of the same sex as themselves and would see how to treat, and how to expect to be treated by, the opposite sex. The bit about the sodomites’ girls not being “treated any less than princesses” is also interesting; I don’t doubt it, and that’s the problem—some, probably many, fathers have a certain weakness, a certain over-indulgence towards their daughters, not to mention a possibly unrealistic over-protectiveness of them as they approach adulthood, and the influence of the mother helps to balance these tendencies. Given how extravagantly these two sodomites have furnished their nursery I fear that these girls will become spoilt.

21st Century
Posted by: ***, Sydney, on 26/05/2009 21:35:24

People, welcome to the 21st century. you need to move with the time. the argument of the girls only have fathers and no mother is weak, how about all those children with single parent in this world?
Mm, how about them? They did not set out from even before the conception of their respective children to deprive them of a father or mother, so how is that a fair comparison?

Posted by: GQ, Tasmania, on 26/05/2009 21:05:46

[…] Both of us know "mothers" (single and in a relationship) and our age or younger who have ended up pregnant unplanned or only for the benefits, all you people that are against this case can't tell me that you'd prefer these mentally and finacially unfit mothers to deserve a child over 2 loving fathers.
But here we have the most basic logical fallacy of all, that is, the violation of the principle that two wrongs don’t make a right. Women having children only for welfare benefits is wrong; sodomites procuring children and robbing them of their mother is also wrong. The fact that we must permit the former because it is almost impossible to prevent doesn’t mean that we ought to permit the latter too. Here are a couple more comments of the ‘bad opposite-sex couples have children, why pick on same-sex couples?’ variety:

Congradulations..a step Closer to Equal Rights!
Posted by: D, Blue Mountains, on 26/05/2009 15:33:00

Congratulations! We are a step closer to equal rights. What happened to equal rights? Why is it an issue for same sex couples to have a child together? It’s ok for heterosexual couples that are addicted to drugs to have children.

Good on you, boys!
Posted by: sarah, melbourne, on 26/05/2009 12:41:50

[…] The children I work with are forced to deal with so many issues (parents in jail, numerous 'boyfriends' for mum, no breakfast or lunch, drug addicted parents, mental and physical abuse...the list goes on) yet people are horified that a gay couple would want a child.
The reason we’re focussing on same-sex couples is because they were the main subject of the report! and it’s courteous to stay on-topic.

Then there were a couple of bizarre comments where the commenter noted a serious problem with same-sex/surrogate adoption, but then gave it a ringing endorsement! See these two:

Way to go Trevor and Peter
Posted by: simrach, QLD, on 26/05/2009 11:45:04

[…] Secondly I was horrified that those children will never be able to access their genetic or birth information. I personally think is a violation of basic human rights to be denied information like this. I wonder if Trevor and Peter were at all concerned about that before proceeding. Still I'm so happy that they are now proud parents. I really wish that surrogacy was more accessable in Australia though.

The new adoption?
Posted by: Megana, melbourne, on 23/05/2009 15:43:48

Will these children long to know their genetic parent? Is this going to be a time-bomb, as the coerced adoptions of the 1950s-80's were? Surely The more we learn about genes, the more important that aspect of ourselves becomes. That said, I support the parents, donors and babies completely! The very best futures to you all.
What the …?! You can see the problem of a child being irrevocably deprived of so much as the opportunity to make the acquaintance of his or her natural mother, but you support this practice anyway?!

Now here’s a classic example of the fallacious ‘what if one of the parents in an opposite-sex couple dies’ argument:

Are we still really this backward people?
Posted by: Ro, Sydney, on 25/05/2009 22:02:17

The age old argument of a child needs a mother and father has to be the most baseless argument ever! What about those kids who (unfortunately) have parents that passed away when they are young or before they were born? They find other people to give them what they need that’s what. These two guys (like many many) gay couples before them had to think long and hard about their decision to have children but you’re going to tell me that some drug addicted couple (who can conceive naturally) is more entitled to have kids because they are able to procreate the “way god intended”? If this is so disgraceful to all you bigots then don’t be using IVF yourself as that isn’t a natural way to have kids, you hear me?
Now the ‘what if one of the parents in an opposite-sex couple dies’ line is fallacious in two respects: firstly, it violates the principle that abuse does not detract from use (the loss of one parent clearly involves a departure from the model which we’re trying to assess) and secondly, it is involves an apples-and-oranges comparison: we need to compare either two opposite-sex parents and two same-sex parents, or compare one of each, but clearly comparing one parent to two parents is an inconsistent way to proceed.

Interestingly, a commenter who identified as gay raised a difficulty with pairs of sodomites raising children:

gay surrogates
Posted by: jonno, Melbourne, on 25/05/2009 18:04:57

Okay, first of all, I'm a gay man and I don't believe that gay people should be excluded from being able to bring up children regardless of what the bible thumpers say. In fact, I'm more concerned about children who are brought up in families of extreme fundamentalist christians. Such children are exposed to bigoted doctrine from a very young age and are not given the opportunity to reject it and decide for themselves. However, there are circumstances where, perhaps, gay men might want to think twice. I know of very few gay male relationships that are monogamous in fact, some, that I know of are a bit of a sexual 'free for all' with both parties having sex with a wide range of other people and quite frequently too. Many will disagree with me, I know. But I don't think this is the ideal type of relationship that children should be brought into.
Practising homosexual men are certainly not reputed for their fidelity: even gay advocate Mr. Andrew Sullivan acknowledged that “there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman” (Virtually Normal, N. Y., Random House, 1996, p. 202). Now of course there are plenty of adulterous heterosexuals, but the question is: which structure tends to attract those who value fidelity and exclusivity the more highly: natural-law marriage or a sodomite-catamite pairing?

I think that the last word on this whole tawdry topic should go to the following commenter:

Posted by: Jess, Melbourne, on 31/05/2009 6:05:17 PM

To grow up without a Mother and Father who dont love each other is sad, but to live as a female without a Mother is the most horrible thing I can possibly imagine. Society have to stop this selfishness. Think of the childs needs !!
Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Columba, Abbot, A.D. 2009


Anonymous said...

We're just content and happy. We're a good couple, weregood people we'll do as good or bad job as any old heterosexual father, mother, you know, we'll make the same mistakes.

Ah, this would be Naomi Wolf's sleight of hand right here.

Andy in Victoria Australia said...

Congratulations to these two men for wanting to have and raise these children. Many hetrosexual couples can have a child by accident. I am sure these two girls will know they were wanted and are loved. Keep up the good work gentlemen. Andy