Pity the children

  • February 12, 2007
Every week brings new headlines of battles won and lost on the family front. Too often, they are depressingly familiar: another aspect of the traditional family bites the dust in the quest for personal self-fulfilment.
In late January the United Press International reported that the mother of an Israeli soldier killed by a sniper had won the legal right to use her dead son’s sperm to impregnate a woman and bring about the birth of a child. The mother, Rachel Cohen, said she is only fulfilling one of her son’s fondest wishes. “Every time I go to his grave and touch his cold tombstone I tell myself how wonderful it would be to hold a warm child in my arms instead,” she told UPI. Whose fondest wish was that again?

Even granting compassion for this woman over the loss of her son, it is difficult to not shudder at the self-absorbed nature of her quest. It says volumes about what she and those who helped her, something called the New Family charity, think about the nature of the child resulting from this twisted transaction.

It reminds us of the case closer to home in which an Ontario Court gave permission to two lesbians and a male friend to be legal parents of a child. We were just getting our heads around the notion that little Johnny had two moms. Now he has three parents and, if that’s legal, why not a whole committee?

Sometimes, though, the “progressive” forces suffer a setback. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled last month that restricting gay men from donating to sperm banks does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A lesbian had argued that her constitutional rights were violated because sperm banks don’t accept donations from men who have been engaged in sex with other men. This prohibition is based on the reasonable evidence that such sex carries a much higher level of risk of transmitting disease than heterosexual sex. The complainant in the case, known only as Susan Doe, aged 40, thought this concern over public health was a mere trifle compared to her dismay over not getting her way.

Even though she was turned down, this case, as with the others, reveals how far along the path we’ve come to the total dismantling of the beleaguered family. Having tossed out the timeless legal definition of marriage, we have now created an atmosphere in which there is no definition. Any oddball combination of adults and (maybe) children that can be imagined can find judicial blessing. In other words, family is now a meaningless term.

This is not a happy evolution, nor is it victimless. As always, the last people considered in this merry race to self-fulfillment are the children. We know not what damage we are inflicting on the next generation. Nor do we seem to care. This is all about individual rights after all — our individual rights, not theirs.

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