Wombs for rent, ten bucks a day

Jim

Knee-jerk reaction laws intended to placate minorities usually incurs collateral damage. But unintended consequences cannot and should not be excused when it comes to fulfilling irresponsible dreams for parenthood. Children are not puppies to be returned to the pet shop when they become inconvenient. Their minds and bodies are a lifetime commitment. GC.Ed.

One aspect of proposed same-sex marriage legislation is slowly percolating into the room like the smell that nobody admits to.
The fact is that homosexual males who want to be fathers need a young woman to be a surrogate mother.
Where will these women come from?
There is another kind of legislation or law at work here – the Law of Supply and Demand – a law that applied before the Egyptians, and which has never been repealed. And the answer to the question is – wherever the wombs are cheapest.
Of course, there are other aspects – there has to be good medical attention, state-of-the-art gynecological services.
Of course, of course.
And there is a place where the wombs are cheapest, where doctors are
available, where laws are elastic.
India.
They may have a s’house cricket team, but they have doctors experienced in IVF – and millions and millions of impoverished young women.
The surrogate motherhood industry in India is worth well over $2 billion
a year, and growing.

The users of the industry from the west pay one-fifth the cost they would pay in England or the US or Australia to have the mother carry the child.
The mum gets about $2000 to $4000, depending on what organisers can bargain for.
There is no mention in the stats of what happens if the child is born blind, or with Down’s Syndrome. The guess is that the ‘problem’ is detected
early and the baby disposed of. Which means that the young mother can try again – maybe.
It is reported that at least some of the IVF clinics are preparing for an increase in demand when legislation in the US and Australia and Israel comes into force which gives homosexuals full adoption rights.
Although it can, and is, done now, there is a kind of delay because the
homosexuals seem to be waiting for a redefinition of “marriage”. A
spokesman for the Fertility Institutes of Las Vegas and Los Angeles
which uses American women as surrogates reports that every time there is
agitation in the press for homosexual marriage, his phone bill goes up.
So much that he advises that they are seriously thinking of cost-cutting and outsourcing the job of surrogacy.
To Mexico.
Where there are a lot of poor young women as well.
Another unreported issue is how the young women feel about the fact that their baby girl or baby boy will be brought up in a homosexual household.
Of course, with modern enlightened views, and clear recognition that
liberal philosophy is here to stay, and anti-discrimination laws, and school curriculums that teach the normalcy of homosexual relations, it
is expected that the Indian and Mexican girls will be very happy with
the forward-looking new-age attitudes in this issue, and will not raise
the slightest objection, or have the least misgivings.
Especially since they can make up to $3000 for taking on what can be a risky and dangerous job.
Maternal deaths in childbirth in the west range from 3.0 per 100,000
(Italy) to 17 per 100,000 (US). Australia is 5 per 100,000.
The figure for India is 250 per 100,000.
That is an average, of course, and not in the IVF clinics. It is perfectly safe there.
Of course, of course.

im McCrudden is a retired lawyer, an avid admirer of Dickens, Shakespeare and many others. He lives on the NSW South Coast, has a keen interest in politics and sits on local government.

Two lies distort our childcare funding debate

Tempe harvey The headline sounded too good to be true: "Australian mums paid $900 a week to help with housework".

On closer inspection, however, the media release last month was about a new insurance policy for stay-at-home mothers. Suncorp's new Million Dollar Woman policy offered "Australia's 2.1 million mums up to $900 a week to pay someone to do their cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping and child-care if they are injured or fall ill".

Much of the online response to the story was so positive, Suncorp could have written it. "When Suncorp rang us to do a quote for my husband, I asked them how much it would cost to insure me!" posted At home mum of 4. "The operator laughed, and I told her I was serious. It's wonderful we can insure against loss of income, but have a really good think about what would happen if the main caregiver was unable to give care for a while!!! It made sense to her, so I asked her to discuss it with her supervisor. Well, maybe she did!! What a brilliant idea, finally!" she said.

Rollseyes of Brisbane was having none of it. He wrote off the scheme as "another way lazy people get an easy ride while the hard workers get [exploited]". Another blogger, Vanessa, gave the politically correct line on the scheme's beneficiaries, stay-at-home mothers, saying, "The lazy get richer!"

In truth, families with stay-at-home mothers are mostly at the lower end of the income scale, but is Vanessa right to call them lazy? The offensive and demeaning tag "stay-at-home mums" makes them sound like prisoners or parasites, but they are of course working. As Suncorp's media release points out, the unpaid work Australian mothers do every day is finally being recognised as crucial to the Australian economy.

A 2003 Institute of Family Studies report found that women aged 25-44 years contributed around $130 billion in unwaged work to the economy. This included almost $29 billion in unpaid childcare work.

Lie 1: Only some mothers work

So why, from Prime Minister Julia Gillard down, do people repeat the lie that stay-at-home mothers are "not working"? Why do mothers even lie about themselves? The standard response to "What do you do?" is "I'm not working" closely followed by "I'm just a stay-at-home mum".

The lie that stay-at-home mothers are "not working" is a sort of key-card used by the paid-work lobby – comprising business, unions and paid workers – to extract daycare funding from the Taxpayers' Bank of Servility.

These corporate welfare lobbyists enjoy bipartisan political support. Politicians happily parrot their false claims that productivity will rise if we ramp up taxpayer-funded daycare (and paid parental leave) to "incentivise" women who are "not working" into paid work.

In truth, however, unwaged mothers are already working. If they exit the family workforce for the paid workforce, taxpayers will be slugged with billions to take over that work. Pretending that mothers are not working is great for the daycare industry but not so good for taxpayers.

Lie 2: Only some families pay for childcare

The second lie at the heart of the childcare debate is that only some families pay for, let alone use, childcare. In reality, all children need childcare or else they will suffer or even die. Childcare also comes at a cost to every family. Childcare reduces a family's income by the amount of any childcare fees, or the amount of income lost by a family member in order to take on childcare work. In other words, every family gives up or gives away income to pay for their children's care.

Discriminatory childcare funding currently gives twice as much, on average, to families using daycare ($6,000), as to those using parent-care supported by Family Tax Benefit B ($3,000). It ignores families' preferences. As a result, informal family-based options, including parents-as-childcarers, are being systematically de-funded, even though mother-care is the overwhelmingly preferred choice of mothers with children and the nation's most used form of childcare.

Pretending that only some families pay for childcare is great for the minority of daycare-users, but grossly unfair to most families using informal care. Similarly, why should the 44 per cent of mothers in continuous paid work get a Super Baby Bonus in the form of paid parental leave? It averages $3,000 more than the Baby Bonus, which goes to the 56 per cent of mothers doing family work, including parent-care.

Before the 2010 federal election, very little was said about stay-at-home mothers and even less was done – nothing, in fact!

Opposition leader Tony Abbott vowed to "do something" for them, while Prime Minister Gillard was criticised for daring to question in Cabinet whether some mothers might be unhappy about paid parental leave discrimination. What can we look forward to now?

The coming federal budget is rumoured to means-test daycare funding to bring it into line with parental childcare payments. However, this does nothing to address the 2:1 funding discrimination against parent-care.

Politicians must ditch the term "stay-at-home mum" and use "family-work mum" instead. Childcare policy must also be re-framed to recognise, as Suncorp has, the value of unpaid childcare work.

The political party that gives equal funding (for both childcare and parental leave) and equal recognition for parent care and the need to keep taxes low, will have an advantage at the next tightly contested federal election.

Tempe Harvey is president of Kids First Parent Association of Australia.

This article first appeared in News Weekly on 14 May 2011

http://www.newsweekly.com.au/articles/2011may14_cover4.html

Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children?

Tim-AndrewsTim Andrews argues we should stop over-protecting our children and let them live life.

Every morning I wake up, check my news feed, and read stories of extreme doom and gloom about the “next generation”. Oh the kids these days! Of course, I usually ignore most of these doomsayer ramblings, yet one story from last week struck a chord with me.

It was a Newsweek piece reporting on a recent study that found that the creativity of American under-18’s, steadily rising throughout history until 1990, has since then “consistently inched downward”, with the decline most prevalent amongst children of primary school age. The commentariat have been quick to blame “video games” and the educational curriculum for this decline, but I am not so sure. Instead, I propose a different thesis. I suspect that it is our modern culture of isolating and protecting our children from every conceivable risk, any possible danger, anything that might possibly cause them any form of momentary unhappiness, that is to blame. That by “protecting” our children, we have inadvertently killed their souls, and are creating a society not of men, but of zombie drones.

Allow me to explain. We now live in a country that is based upon risk-minimisation to the extreme. It is now viewed as legitimate for our government to do everything to minimise any potential negative effects on our lives, even if we enter them of our free volition (just think of the war on obesity, on smoking, on alcohol and so on). The nanny state rules supreme, and it is only natural that such a protective mindset is applied to the youngest of our society – to an even greater degree in fact. Yet I ask – at what cost?

Let us all think back upon when we were in school. Even for a relatively youngling like me (I’m not old yet!), I think about all I did that was perfectly harmless back when I was at school, but would now be illegal. Indeed, I still remember much-beloved playground equipment at my school torn out on the fear that someone might get hurt (If anyone from Trinity is reading this – remember the Vomitron? And the fun we had before it was removed courtesy of Ashfield Council?) . I remember when, just two years ago, as a leader in the Scouting movement, I proposed, as part of our annual camp, activities that I did countless times as a child – activities that I not only enjoyed, but without doubt built character – and was informed that due to the current legal regime, the 0.001% risk of a skinned knee was too great, and we were unable to do them. Some of my greatest childhood memories have now become illegal. The fun I had, the things I learned – all unavailable these days. And this doesn’t even begin to get into all the things our parents generation did – and lived through.

What have we, proud Western civilisation, come to. What state are we now in. In the U.S., a parent was called the “worst mum in America” for letting her 9 year old ride the subway unsupervised (h/t to the IPA for bringing this case to my attention). In Britain (the world’s first soft-totalitarian state), parents are being persecuted by the State forletting their children ride a bike to school (oh the monstrosity! Heaven forbid! A child riding a bike to school, what horror!). Even Facebook, under pressure from the UK Government run Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (bolstered by a petition from  44 police chiefs– voluntary choice indeed) has agreed to introduce a “panic button” on its UK sites, where “teens will be encouraged to click it when suspicious that they’re being targeted for abuse…and may also report users who they believe are acting inappropriately toward them”.The list goes on.  And on. And on.

And do you know what? I just want to scream “enough is enough”. Call out for an end to this madness. Go climb Mt. Kosciusko and scream for all Australia to hear.  Our great land was founded on the rugged pioneering spirit. The squatter in the outback. The free settles out on the land. Throughout our history we have seen brave men and women face all odds, overcome every obstacle, all in the spirit of  forging a new and greater life for themselves and their families. People who recognised danger, yet spat in its face. This is what made us. We have such a proud history of overcoming adversity, and yet now we are creating a society where adversity is apparently an evil word. A society where everyone must be protected – by The State – from every ill. A society where toil seems to be unacceptable.

Let us just look of what we think of our children. How much faith we place in their resilience. Even a cursory check of the media would bring up countless stories condemning “bullying” in schools, accompanied by calls on the State to take action. “Zero tolerance” educational academics proclaim! No child should ever be “bullied” at school! Everyone should be all sweet and nice and all children should frolic merrily through school playgrounds hand in hand! Real life preparation indeed.

Just think about it. Take a few moments to think about where we now are. We now have a Federal Select Parliamentary Committee looking into cyber-abuse. Again, just stop and  think about this for a moment. The highest elected representatives of the land – the people responsible for our economy, our defence, our national wellbeing – are spending their time trying to stop mean 14 year olds from sending nasty emails. Does this not bother anyone? Do you not just think to stop and say, enough is enough? I mean… really? Are we really that far gone that we really want our government to do this?

Of course, this is not to take away from serious incidents of abuse of people at school. Severe abuse ought never be tolerated, and teachers and community leaders should take every effort to stamp it out without question. Violence, death threats, severe intimidation should be treated with the utmost severity – there is no question there. But to conflate any wrongdoing, any ‘mean’ action with severe abuse strikes me as counter-productive at best. To call someone a rude name, to not invite them to your birthday party, to engage in such acts as what have now been termed “anti-social behaviour” (punishable in many places by the legal system) is not the same thing as genuine abuse. To the contrary, by equating all “bullying” as an act worthy of government intervention, you do little more than trivialise the severe cases, and place everything on the same level playing field. The result? Lessening the chances that intervention where it is genuinely needed occurs properly (boys and wolves, after all). Even more insidiously, however, is the fact that if you consider harmless “bullying” as an act worthy of Federal Government interference, then you do not provide children faced with minor meanness with the opportunity to learn how to stand up for themselves. Instead, you foster a dependant mentality where all they think of is run to an authority figure for help.

Last week, a study [immediately denounced by the busy-body industry (for how else can we call it?)] by prominent psychologists revealed thatstanding up to classroom bullies can be an important step in childhood development. Without even going into the details, this ought be intuitive to us all. After all, how else are we to learn how to assert ourselves if all opportunities to do so at a childhood level are taken away from us? And so I make the claim: bullying can be beneficial. Standing up to people, learning to deal with adversity, confronting your fears – this is all animportant rite of passage for all children, and one that reaps countless benefits in adult life. Yet it is something we now seem willing – indeed eager – to deprive our children of. Looking back on my life, I freely admit I was an utter twat for most of my school times (not much has changed perhaps). Yet I can freely admit that it was those people who called me out on it – who did  the very “anti-social” actions that are now condemned by the Federal Government – that ultimately made me a better person. And, with t he benefit of hindsight, I am grateful to them for it.

Since I shall doubtlessly be condemned as callous for saying “bullying can be beneficial” already, I might as well go on. And extend this to life overall. Last week, a healthy, leafy branch fell from a tree in Central Park and the unthinkable happened: It killed a 6-month-old girl who was in her mom’s arms, just as the dad was about to take their picture. The mom was gravely injured. The dad is now taking the first steps toward filing a lawsuit.”A tragedy, to be sure. But let us think about what this lawsuit means. What message it sends. Because – to me – the message, one of zero tolerance to any bad act of fate – is clear. It is a message that we need a society where no child can ever, under any circumstances, be exposed to any risk whatsoever. We need a world free of all risk. Of any possibility of danger. Where nothing bad can possibly happen. And this is a message I cannot accept, and a world I would never want to live in.

The busybody-industry will respond by saying “one innocent death is too many”. At the risk of ruining my entire future political career by saying this, dammit, no it is not.  We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen. Innocent children will always die. This is unavoidable. We can never protect people against every threat, every possible disaster. Unless we live our lives cocooned in a plastic bubble (and perhaps even then), s**t happens. That’s life. Innocents will always die. The question is how we react to this. Do we accept the nature of the world, do we accept that there are bad people out there and learn how to cope and deal with this, or do we attempt to cocoon everyone, attempt to prevent every possible bad thing happening, at the cost of our souls. The death of one child is a tragedy. To destroy an entire generation to prevent it from occurring again, that is the real crime.

In fact, having already dug myself into a hole, I will go even further and say that suffering is not in and of itself a bad thing. To go through life avoiding torment and struggle, and wishing only pleasant experiences, is not a life worth living. It is not a life that creates character, or a life that creates true people. There is a difference between living and existing, and, dammit, it is our trials and tribulations that make us truly human.  Suffering – in and of itself – isnota bad thing. To endure suffering, and come out the other end, builds virtue (something our modern society sorely lacks). The sooner we wean ourselves off the Dr. Phil notion of eternal contentment, the better we shall be – not only as people, but as society as a whole.

If we continue upon our present trajectory, we are doing little more than creating a nation of zombies. We are raising a generation who are unable to fend for themselves, unable to cope with even the slightest setback, and will grow up with few skills other than the ability to suckle on the proverbial governmental teat. By protecting our children from anything ‘bad’, we have deprived them of the ability to stand up for themselves. And to be truly human. Ought we really wonder why scores show them to be less “creative”? We have nought but ourselves to blame.

We may well be on the way to creating a ‘safe’ world, free of any harm for our children (Huxley, much?). But, in the long run, is this really a world we want to live in? Do we really want a country of happy, content drones, unable to take any misfortune, and running to the nanny-state the second they cut their finger or fall in the mud?   Such a society may be good for those with a vested interest in big government (whose livelihood necessitates a compliant and dependant populace), but it damn well is bad for the few of us remaining who believe in a robust liberty-oriented populace, or for those of us who want a society with real people, and not simply carbon-copy clones of “happy” drones.

The time has come for us to say enough is enough. To stop our obsession with protection, and to stop trying to create an environment free of risk or unhappiness. Because s**t  happens. But what’s more, suffering does buildcharacter, and taking risks is worthwhile. It is time we reclaim those qualities that made Australia the greatest country on earth.

For the sake of our children, and our children’s children, we need to learn how to say: “harden the f**k up”.

Tim Andrews is and is an editor and co-founder of Menzies House.  This was originally posted on his personal blog and at http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2010/07/15/wont-somebody-please-think-of-the-children Thoughts of Freedom.