Welcome to our Wednesday Wrap, where we provide you with some short takes on interesting and inspiring stories you may have missed.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal agrees birth certificates are more than “social” documents
A couple of weeks ago, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal handed down a very important decision in the case of Arc-Dekker v Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. In that case, the applicants – a lesbian couple – had asked the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to change the birth certificate of their daughter so that both women were listed as “mother.” The certificate currently lists the woman who gave birth as the “mother” and her partner as the “parent.”
The Tribunal rejected the application.
Although it flew under the radar, it is an important case. Surely birth certificates are primarily an identity document which belongs to the child born, and not a document which seeks to reflect the emotional relationship of adults. It is supposed to record an event, not a feeling. Even though the decision was made on the basis of a strict interpretation of the law rather than the rights of the child, it is the correct outcome.
The world’s first “three-parent baby” born in Mexico
It was reported recently by New Scientist that the world’s first “three parent baby” was born in Mexico. We looked into the science behind and the motivation for the creation of three-parent babies after the process became legal in the United Kingdom, but this is appears to be the first time the technology has been successfully used. The baby boy has two biological mothers and a biological father.
The aim, in this situation, was to prevent the birth of a child afflicted with a genetic disease inherited through the mitochondria of the mother. While you cannot help but feel compassion for the parents in this case (they suffered four miscarriages and lost two children in infancy), the creation of a child with three biological parents is not the appropriate response. Just because something is technically possible, it is not morally permissible.
The motivations of the fertility experts should also be questioned here. I doubt that their main goal is really to assist in those rare cases of mitochondrial genetic disease, but rather to perfect the technology so that it is available to same-sex couples who both want to have a biological connection to their child, because this would be the far more lucrative business.
Actress Sally Phillips says pregnant women are being pressured to abort babies with Down Syndrome
Actress Sally Phillips of Bridget Jones fame has a twelve-year old son with Down Syndrome. In a recent interview, she said that mothers whose babies are diagnosed with Down Syndrome are being pressured to abort the pregnancy. She told the story of one mother who was told by a medical professional to “stop this nonsense now while you still can,” of another who was warned by a medical professional that the baby would cause the break up of their marriage, and a third who was booked in for an abortion without her consent.
While these stories (unfortunately) come as little surprise to those of us who have seen the anti-life mentality that pervades even the most caring of vocations, it is good to see someone with such a high profile speaking up about it. She said: "If we deny someone the chance to be born because we've decided they won't meet some predetermined measure of status or achievement, then we've failed to grasp what it means to be human.”
The reason to be wary of statistics used in the marriage debate
There were reports last week that only one electorate in rural Queensland is in favour of keeping the current definition of marriage. The reports were based on the findings of a study which used the data from ABC's 2013 Vote Compass survey to conduct its analysis.
This is an odd result, given that – according to the ABC itself – only 52% of respondents overall were in favour of changing the definition of marriage.
The bottom line is: Don't believe everything you read.
The unbalanced coverage of the Polish abortion protest
You might have seen it in the media (everywhere) that thousands of women in Poland participated in a march to protest the proposed tightening of abortion laws in that country. Abortion is outlawed in Poland, except where the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, where the baby will have serious disability or where the mother’s life is in danger. The new laws would see these exceptions removed, and this is what was being protested.
What I find interesting is that the media is universally silent when it comes to reporting the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who brave the snow each year in the United States to protest the widespread legalisation of abortion which was ushered in with the Roe v Wade case. Double standards much?
Monica Doumit, Catholic Talk contributor