It’s amazing how mistaken I can be about how the public will react to bioethical issues. Take the recent sad case of Baby Gammy which has featured in newspapers around the world. He is a Down syndrome infant boy, one of twins carried by a surrogate mother in Bangkok for an Australian couple, David and Wendy Farnell. She refused to abort Gammy and the couple allegedly refused to take him. So now he lives in limbo with his surrogate mother.
The media was horrified, especially after it emerged that Mr Farnell, 56, had spent three years in jail for molesting two girls aged 7 and 10. Baby Gammy looked so cute and his Thai birth mother so loving. How could anyone be so heartless to propose aborting a twin? How could anyone be so heartless as to abandon their own baby? How could a paedophile be allowed to commission a surrogate mother?
To be honest, I didn’t think that the story was a big deal. I thought that everyone knew that 90% of Down syndrome babies in Australia and most Western countries are aborted. I thought that everyone knew that “foetal reduction” (ie, aborting excess children in a multiple pregnancy) is common. I thought that everyone knew that surrogacy in developing countries exploits young women. I thought that everyone knew that many, if not most, clients of these surrogates were creating unconventional families – either for gays or single women.
How wrong I was! Apparently the media used to believe – and probably still does – that surrogacy is just an odd way to give children to doting mums and dads. They were completely ignorant of the many reasons why surrogacy is bad public policy which should be banned.
Flash! Bangkok police raided an apartment this week and discovered nine babies between one month and two years, all born to surrogate mothers from the same Japanese businessman father. The births were not registered. He is a very loving dad, his lawyer told The Japan Times. Maybe. Maybe not. It sounds to me like a child sex trafficking scheme. It happened recently in Australia. Notch up manufacturing babies to be abused as another good reason to ban surrogacy.
I hope that you enjoy this week's newsletter. Cheers,