FAMILY MATTERS: Surrogacy – whose rights come first?

UK ethicist Gary Powell has been a gay rights activist for over forty years, and has been campaigning against surrogacy since 2014. He argues that there is no such thing as a universal human right to be a parent, and that while it is a sad situation when someone who wants to have a child but is unable to do so, no right can be asserted by one group that seriously undermines the rights of another group. Gary Powell believes that all forms of surrogacy, for all people, represent a serious human rights violation to both the child and the surrogate, and that it is not an LGBT+ right.

In this discussion with Bob McCoskrie, they cover issues around the potential harm to children, the distress of surrendering a baby at birth, “genealogical bewilderment”, and why surrogacy is a process that is intrinsically exploitative and ‘instrumentalising’ of women. They also critique the TVNZ’s Sunday programme which covered the issue.

Gary Powell is the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In 2021 he was appointed as Research Fellow at the Bow Group, the oldest conservative think tank in the United Kingdom. He graduated with First Class Honours from Oxford University, where his Philosophy tutors included the Rt Hon Baroness Mary Warnock, who first inspired his interest in the ethics of third-party reproduction. Warnock chaired the UK Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology that led to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Gary is an original signatory of the Stop Surrogacy Now Statement and argues for a ban on all forms of surrogacy for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, because of the unacceptable risks and harm it involves, including the exploitation and commodification of women and children.

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