I have been meaning to blog about the controversy that is the new IVF bill and reactions thereto. Setting aside the position taken by the church – a position to which it is entitled but which should obviously not be taken as the universal truth in a secular society – there is also the position of the LGBT lobby that begs consideration.
The premise of the LGBT lobby’s assertion is that IVF should be accessible to same-sex couples and single parents. I have serious problems getting my head around this one for the reason that I see IVF as a scientific aid to couples who are finding trouble having children. IVF in that context assists these couples. What the new bill is proposing to do is to regulate the matter in such a way that such couples no longer find themselves in an illegal situation when having recourse to the benefits of scientific advances.
I find that the qualms expressed by Andrew Borg Cardona in today’s column are very much the ones that I have – in particular with regard to the fish and bicycle argument. It is hard to envisage a fundamental right for LGBT couples to IVF though, like Andrew I would not be one to set up barricades should such a law eventually come to pass. The incongruence is between the idea of what is accepted in current society (and what has been transformed into law) and the possibility of a fundamental change in that very level of mores.
Without entering into the issue of whether same-sex couples having offspring (obviously with donors involved) is moral or immoral – I do feel confident in asserting that this kind of development would warrant a wider platform than a back-door entry via an enabling clause in a bill in parliament.
Here is the relevant part from Borg Cardona’s article (by the way Andrew … convoluted moi?)
The question is: Is it really the case that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to raise a family, a right that shouldn’t be denied by the law itself?
Speaking for myself, and a philosopher or ethicist I ain’t, I have this nagging doubt worrying my logical bone like a slightly lethargic puppy. It’s not something that exercises me to the max, far from it, and if the law were to be changed to accommodate same-sex couples, I’m not about to take to the barricades. In the case of two males, obviously, legislation concerning IVF is pretty much a fish and bicycle proposition, while, equally obviously, for two females, it is very relevant that the law is limiting the facility to male-female couple. Thankfully, no one has tried to square the circle that would be a lesbian and gay couple, who would appear to have no bar to getting married or resorting to IVF, somewhat paradoxically.
The real question to be getting back to is, then, can you extend the definition of a fundamental right to embrace people who don’t have the wherewithal to achieve what they’re trying to achieve? I really don’t know but my perhaps less liberal side tends towards the “not really” side of the argument.