Australia May Push Ban on Fertility Treatments for Lesbians, Unmarried Women

Just one day after the High Court of Australia dismissed an appeal by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference calling for a ban on fertility treatments for lesbians and single women, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the government will consider amending the country’s Sex Discrimination Act to create a legal basis for the ban. According to Howard, there is “a very strong likelihood” that the government will change the law to allow individual states to restrict the ability of lesbians and single women to receive treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Professor Linda Hancock of the Australian Women’s Electoral Lobby called the move “ideologically driven.” “It’s discriminatory and it’s internationally embarrassing for Australia that our national government wants to undermine laws protecting women from discrimination,” said Hancock. While Howard may try to push for changes, however, pundits expect that any measures to ban fertility treatments will be blocked in the Senate.


Associated Press, 4/19/02; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Reports, 4/19/02

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