Thursday, October 30, 2008

A different mental world

This is Dr Helen Szoke explaining why single women should have access to IVF:

Two Victorian women are hoping for their first baby, but even though they are both fertile, they can't get pregnant.

One woman can't conceive because her husband is infertile - but there is some hope for her, legally.

She can get donor insemination treatment.

The other woman can't get pregnant in Victoria because she doesn't have a male partner.

And under our state law, she will be turned away from all fertility services.

The only real difference between the women is their marital status.

When I first read this, I was struck by the difference in the way Dr Szoke conceives reality. Family relationships are insignificant to her. A difference in marital status means nothing to her, even in terms of a woman bringing a child into the world with or without a father.

Dr Szoke is the CEO of the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission - in other words, an important officer of the state. Her way of thinking illustrates just how distorted a philosophy of non-discrimination can be. She writes:

Lifting the ban on fertility services for single women ... will remove discrimination ... It is a shame that in the 21st century we still discriminate against people on the basis of their marital status ...

So it's now considered discriminatory to expect that a woman might partner with a man in order to have a child.

It's necessary to insist here that some forms of discrimination are reasonable. It is reasonable to expect that a woman will partner with a man in order to have a child.

In doing so, a child is brought into the world with a father.

Dr Szoke disagrees and believes that we all have a "right" to have our wants met by the state and that any denial of this right amounts to shameful discrimination.

But look at what is required to follow such a principle - Dr Szoke has to trivialise and disregard important human relationships to make the principle work. To blot out the real consequences of her anti-discrimination principle, there are certain rooms of thought that have to be left empty.


  1. It's typical of the notion of "discrimination" that's around. The single woman spoken of doesn't have a medical condition that's preventing her from having children. IVF is a medical treatment, and is supposed to be for medical problems. The married woman can't conceive because her husband has a medical condition that prevents it. Hence IVF in their case IS a treatment for a medical problem. The single woman can't conceive because she doesn't (or won't) have a husband/boyfriend/eager male acquaintance to do the job for her! That, surely, is a social issue, and a question of personal choice, not a medical one!

    Namely that because a single woman doesn’t have a man in her life it is thought that an expensive MEDICAL TREATMENT should compensate in this oddball universe, and to use medical treatment for non-medical problems is appropriate! I know there are medical treatments to increase muscular strength – developed for muscle wasting diseases. However I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, but rather than do weight training, I DEMAND access to these treatments, at the public’s expense – surely it is discriminating against me if they don’t. Another factor conveniently forgotten is that allowing single women and lesbians access to IVF to have children discriminates on the basis of sex (sorry, GENDER). A single man or male homosexual couple have no such access to IVF – how is this balanced?

    I would propose that we ban these “sperm banks” – as this would close off all this faux equality rubbish. Single women would then be forced to enter into private arrangements to have children, which they are perfectly capable of doing now, and not expect the public to pay for it, or take the places of people with a genuine medical need.