Sunday, February 12, 2017
I was delighted when my son was born but it is my one big regret that I did not have a daughter too. But 10 IVF treatment cycles did not produce one. So I do to a degree understand the stories of the two women below. "Daughter deprivation" is a real thing.
But I note that both women are emphatic about gender roles. They seem to want to prove something. It appears that they have feminist ideas that they want to apply to their daughters. They don't want normal "girly" girls. That makes me a bit concerned if they do end up with girly girls. I know one tomboyish mother who ended up unexpectedly with a "Princess" daughter but in that case it ended well. The mother was above all kind so the princess got her frills and things
Ethically, gender selection seems to me to pose the same dilemmas as abortion but since the selection occurs before there is any consciousness, I would be inclined to look the other way -- JR
We have come to the house of a woman we won't name, in a state we won't name, to talk to her about her desperate wish to have a daughter. We have agreed to call this woman "Kate", and such is her fear of social backlash that when we interview her, we film her in silhouette.
Several other women had agreed to be interviewed by Lateline, then changed their minds over concerns they would be targeted on social media for their views.
Kate suffers from what is known as gender disappointment.
How seriously you take that concept probably goes a long way to determining how you feel about whether Australia should legalise gender selection - the use of IVF to get the baby of your desired sex.
Gender disappointment is not a medically recognised condition. Critics call it a social construct, but venture into some closed online chat forums and you will find hundreds of Australian women who are sharing their disappointment over the sex of their children.
Kate, 29, already has two boys and is five months pregnant with her third boy - a revelation that left her "gutted". "I went to the bedroom and cried for a really long time," she says. "Then my husband came in and he cried as well. "You feel horrible, because you want to be excited that it's a boy, but part of you was really disappointed."
Kate is desperate for a daughter but she insists she doesn't want a "a ballerina, Barbie girl". "I'm not wanting someone that I can dress in pink and tie her hair up. I'm not wanting any of that," she says.
"It's just that I always imagined her and she's always existed. I feel the family isn't complete without her."
Kate and others who feel gender disappointment describe it as a guilt-ridden, debilitating depression.
"Unless someone has that desire themselves and feels how it can be all-consuming, they can't understand what it's like," she says. "It'd be so easy if I could just switch it off and just be happy."
Gender selection is not allowed in Australia, but an ethics committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council has been reviewing the guidelines for assisted reproductive technology and may make a recommendation for change.
"To you she doesn't exist yet, but to us we can't imagine a life without her," Kate wrote in her submission to the committee.
"It's really a personal decision and it's not going to hurt people the way that people seem to think it is.
"It's not going to affect the gender ratio, and it's not going to place these unrealistic ideas on the children that are being born."
Sarah has two boys, aged nine and seven, and four-year-old twin girls.
"I will talk to people and they go, 'Oh you're so lucky you got the two boys and then you got the two girls', and I will go, 'No, luck had nothing to do with that. I had to do some extreme measures to get my girls'," she says.
After having two boys, Sarah went to California, where gender selection is allowed, to go through an IVF cycle and be implanted only with the female embryos it produced.
Sarah had gone through the same range of emotions Kate is now experiencing. "It's gut-wrenching. I would be in tears," she says.
"It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't have a daughter, and I wanted that because I was so close to my mum that I wanted to be the mum that was that close to my daughter," she says.
She rejects suggestions sex selection is akin to creating a designer baby. "I didn't choose any eye colour, I didn't choose a hair colour, I just chose a girl over a boy," she says.
She is adamant that her daughters will not be expected to conform to gender stereotypes.
"I'm not going to force anything on my children," she says. "They can be gay, they can be bi, they can do whatever they want with their lives.
"I'm a live-and-let-live kind of person. "I don't judge other people, and I just hope they don't judge me in the same way."
Trump Under Fire for Religion-Friendly Stance
Neither President Donald Trump, nor his competitor, Hillary Clinton, are known for their devoutness, but unlike the loser, Trump is a reliable friend to people of faith. That is exactly why he is coming under fire from militant secularists. The latest hit job comes courtesy of the Center for American Progress.
John Podesta founded the organization and George Soros funds it. They make quite a pair. In the Wikileaks email exchanges, Podesta was caught bragging about his efforts to subvert the Catholic Church. Soros, as anyone who has looked at the Catholic League's website knows, has a long record of lavishly giving to anti-Catholic groups. So it is hardly surprising that one of their own, Claire Markham, would rip Trump for being religion-friendly.
Markham's first salvo is so obtuse that it makes one wonder how low the hiring bar has fallen at the Center for American Progress. She accuses the Trump administration of wanting to "redefine religious liberty to only people who share its vision of faith." Vision of faith? No one, save a dunce, speaks that way. The administration has no "vision of faith," but it is committed to the defense of religious liberty, something Podesta and Soros have worked to undermine.
Repeating the lie that is so popular among Trump's critics, Markham decries his "Muslim ban." But there is no ban-only select Muslim-run nations with a history of sponsoring terrorism (as determined by the Obama administration) are under a temporary ban.
Markham makes a big deal out of the White House statement on the Holocaust that did not specifically mention Jews. This political attack reflects the desire to tag Trump with being unfriendly to every religion, save Christianity. Ironically, it is not Trump or his staff who has been tagged for being an anti-Semite-it is employees at the Center for American Progress.
Trump was also criticized for his desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the IRS rule that limits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from involvement in the political process. While there are legitimate grounds to question what a repeal might mean, the issue raised by Markham about a "dark money loophole for political donations" is pure demagoguery. Has anyone at the Podesta-Soros organization complained how this has affected the teachers' unions and the Democratic Party?
What upsets Markham most is what Trump might do: He might issue an executive order protecting religious liberty. The draft that has circulated is magnificent, notwithstanding the need to do some tweaking. It clearly represents a commitment to expand the reach of religious rights, insulating religious individuals and institutions from being encroached upon by government. Astonishingly, Markham criticizes the draft for its "narrow view of religious liberty." That's Orwellian doublespeak. It is precisely because it has a broad view that she is going ballistic.
Trump's dedication to religious liberty stands in stark relief to the assault on this First Amendment right by the Obama administration. Religious leaders have a moral obligation to support him in these efforts.
Merkel to kick out migrants as Europe backs Trump ban
Angela Merkel met state governors last night to hammer out tough measures to speed up the forced repatriation of rejected asylum seekers.
The move by the German chancellor came as police announced that they had arrested two Islamists and averted another terrorist attack - and as a poll revealed that European voters hold views on immigration that are closer to President Trump's stance than that of their own leaders.
An average of 55 per cent of respondents across ten European countries - including 53 per cent in Germany - agreed with the statement that "all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped", according to the respected Chatham House think tank.
UK: Claims of betrayal as door shuts on refugee children
That many of the so-called children were in fact adults would have been a big factor in closing the scheme
Theresa May was accused of being on the "wrong side of history" last night after a scheme to bring vulnerable child refugees to Britain was shut down.
Only 350 unaccompanied children will have been welcomed under the Dubs scheme by the time it is wound down in the next few weeks. Refugee campaigners had called for 3,000 children to benefit.
The scheme is to end because of a lack of local authority accommodation and limits on the amount of care that councils can provide for children with "pressing and difficult needs".
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, accused the prime minister of coming close to the "policies of Trump" by closing the programme.
Furore as magazine cover depicts Trump beheading Statue of Liberty
GERMAN magazine Der Spiegel has sparked controversy with a cover depicting US President Donald Trump holding the severed head of the Statue of Liberty in one hand and a bloodied knife in the other.
The weekly used for its front page an image by US-Cuban artist and political refugee Edel Rodriguez with the Trumpian slogan "America first" next to it.
"On our cover the American president beheads the symbol which has welcomed migrants and refugees to the United States since 1886, and with democracy and freedom," Spiegel's chief editor Klaus Brinkbaeumer told German news agency DPA.
US-German relations have deteriorated under President Trump, who has criticised the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The cover image, which shows an orange face featureless save for a wide-open mouth, was seized upon for discussion by other media outlets in Germany and beyond.
Bild tabloid saw a direct parallel with Mohammed Emwazi, the British national known by the pseudonym "Jihadi John", who was seen in several videos showing the beheading of Islamic State hostages.
Speaking to Bild, the vice-president of the European Parliament, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of Germany's liberal Free Democrats, slammed the image as being in "bad taste" and one which "plays on the lives of terror victims in a very nasty manner."
Liberal conservative broadsheet Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for its part warned that if the media demonised Trump that could play into his hands. "The Spiegel cover is just what Trump needs - a distorted image of him which he can use to further his own distorted image of the press," it said.
The paper added that such images could underpin Trump supporters' beliefs that the media are biased against him and "belong to the establishment, which he is allegedly up against."
Conservative daily Die Welt, which like Bild belongs to the Axel Springer publishing group, criticised the Spiegel cover for "devaluing journalism."
The image was widely shared on social media and also featured on posters waved by protesters attending a rally Saturday in Berlin to denounce Trump's temporary ban on migrants from seven mainly Muslim countries.
Social media was abuzz, with mixed reactions to the cover.
Film-maker Morgan Spurlock tweeted "In case anyone was confused, this is how the world sees the new presidency".
"Now that's bold bordering on bad taste?" tweeted Euronews journalist Sophie Claudet.
Trump supporters quickly voiced their disgust. "If EU put safety of its people 1st, there would a lot more around to see Der Spiegel's inane cover", tweeted the @RuleDonaldTrump account.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.