Denying Reality


The denial of reality continues apace. In the South Australia State Parliament yesterday, Premier Weatherill offered an apology (h/t: CL) for his state’s historical treatment of the LGBTQ community. One of the instances of purported discrimination involved the following:

“People like Chloe and her partner who were told that they can’t access fertility treatment in this state because they were told their infertility was a lifestyle choice.”

Concluding that such purported discrimination:

“diminish[es] us by saying effectively there are certain people who deserve to be treated differently, whose relationships are worth less, whose families should not exist and who are not entitled to the same fundamental rights as their neighbour,” Mr Weatherill said.

With respect to the last quote, the first thing to say about the following is that the relationship is different and therefore deserves to be treated differently. A relationship between the sexes is typically fertile, whereas a relationship between the same sex can never be fertile. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean that the latter relationship is worth less than the former, nor that any ‘families’ that may now involve same-sex partners do not exist. It simply means that the state may have a greater interest in the former than with respect to the latter, and that any rights that might be involved have to do with the care and custody of the child/ren, either as natural or adoptive parent, rather than with the relationship itself.

So far as the first quote is concerned, Chloe and her partner, are denied access to fertility treatment not because they are gay, but because they do not suffer any sort of medical condition that hinders or prevents pregnancy within their relationship. The problem, as it were, is the relationship itself; that is, it is not a fecund relationship. We should, for the same reason, deny fertility treatment to single women, but here not on the grounds of their not being a fecund relationship, but simply because their is no relationship. To pretend otherwise, in either case, is simply to deny reality.

Picture: :The Hirschsprung family portrait (1881) by Peder Severin Krøyer.



  1. Not Trampis

    here here

  2. Mark from Melbourne

    Deny fertility treatment or deny funding for fertility treatment?

    I think the latter is far more defensible than the former, even if on some levels I might prefer the former.

    We have too many restrictions on individual freedom as it is, and if someone can afford to both conceive artificially AND understand that – basics available to all such as health and education aside – they cannot fall back on the public purse, I see allowing that as far the lesser of two evils.

    1. dover_beach (Post author)

      Hey Mark,
      Both. They are not receiving fertility treatment since neither one or the other suffer from a medical condition which renders the relationship infertile. It is the relationship in itself that is infertile. Further, I don’t see this as the unjustified curtailment of their individual freedom, but in the above terms, as well as being concerned with the rights of the child; namely, that they have a reasonable expectation they will be raised by their biological mother and father.

      1. Mark from Melbourne

        Yes, I agree with that on all fronts., Especially on the rights of any offspring.

        I just don’t think that denying them the right to treatment on their own dime is a usefully defensible position right now I guess.

        If we are to walk back from the moral madness which now abounds, much as I’d like to dream of the one fell swoop, I think in reality it is going to be incremental.Which means denying public funding in this case, and shutting down late term abortion in another as the first step.

        The only spot where I see any leverage on a “one strike policy” is SSM… where it is, as I’ve argued before, not only defensible but essential to argue from the position that all people are able to marry as things stand.

        1. dover_beach (Post author)

          Mark, I agree with you that reversing the madness will need to be incremental. The thing is, though, in making the argument I think it’s best to actually state your case fully, and simply admit or concede some ground simply as a practical matter, while always working towards the principled position you hold. The other thing is that this should be a position held by the medical profession itself, and enforced by its professional bodies, given the simple fact that single women, nor same-sex couples, actually suffer a medical condition that renders them infertile and thus requires fertility treatment.


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