The Tasmanian government has introduced a¬†Bill that would allow surrogacy.
Early in 2011 the¬†government¬†released a draft Bill and asked for¬†submissions - they closed on Feb 4, 2011.
Currently surrogacy arrangements are void and unenforceable in Tasmania. The proposed Bill would legalise altruistic surrogacy (where no 'payment is made to the birth mother). Commercial surrogacy would still be banned in Tasmania.
The government says this Bill "will provide a legal mechanism for the parentage of a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement to be transferred from the birth mother to the intended parent or parents."
Further details relating to the draft Bill and submissions are included below, for the record.
Surrogacy Bill 2011
The Labor government introduced the Surrogacy Bill 2011 into the House of Assembly.
A vote was held in the House of Assembly on 14 April 2011 - the Bill was passed.
The Liberals put up some amendments to the Bill. These included limiting surrogacy to heterosexual couples and single women;¬†stating that couples had to be together for three years before they could use surrogacy arrangements; a minimum age of 25; no overseas surrogacy and so¬†on.
NONE of these amendments were passed.
The Bill now goes to the Legislative Council - a¬†debate and vote will be held - sometime on or after the 24 May, 2011.
On Tuesday June 15, Ruth Forrest (Member for Murchison) moved a motion to send the Bill to the¬†Government Administration Committee A - the purpose of sending the Bill to the Committee is to scrutinise the actual Bill - it is not to decide IF the Surrogacy Bill should be passed or not!
ACTION: If you live in Tasmania, or even if you don't, please contact your ONE Member in the Legislative Council.
In fact, please contact ALL 15 members!
Ask them to oppose the Surrogacy Bill in order to protect the rights of children - in particular the right to live with their own biological mother and father.
We oppose all surrogacy arrangements, whether for homosexual couples, single people or heterosexual de facto or married couples.
Click here for contact details for Tasmanian MPs.
Comments relating to the Inquiry stage of the draft 'Surrogacy Bill'...
Some points to note:
The Bill would allow a single person (with no 'spouse') to undertake a surrogacy arrangement and apply for a parentage order to the court (Part 4, Section 12).
It also allows people who are spouses to make a 'joint' application for a parentage order. The Bill defines 'spouse' to include people in a significant 'relationship' that is either not registered (such as a¬†de facto relationship) or is registered under the Relationships Act 2003 - this includes same-sex couples.
We are concerned about any surrogacy arrangements, no matter how well-intentioned. Extending that to allow single people and same-sex couples to have surrogacy and parenting rights is not in the best interest of children who need a mother and a father.
In addition, the potential adverse effects on the child, and the birth mother and her family cannot be lightly dismissed. With the previous growth of 'donor sperm' for conception and IVF, the group 'Tangled Webs' was set up - they are¬†concerned about donor conception and the implications of children not knowing or living with their biological parents. Those problems will most likely¬†also be present in surrogacy arrangements, where the child will probably never know their birth mother.
Submissions close on Friday 4 February 2011.
Consultation website at Dept of Justice - click here.
Read the proposed draft Surrogacy Bill and find out more.
ACTION: If you live in Tasmania, please make a submission.
Please oppose the legalisation of surrogacy and the 'parentage' laws proposed in this Bill.
Your comments on the Bill can be sent to the Office of Legislation Development and Review, Department of Justice, GPO Box 825, Hobart 7001.