New Dáil must respect a child’s right to a mother

Ireland’s new Dáil has been urged to respect the right of every child to a mother by a leading psychiatrist.

Ahead of the annual celebration of Mother’s Day, Professor Patricia Casey of the Iona Institute accused the previous administration of depriving children of the right to a mother and a father through the Children and Family Relationships Act and called on the incoming Government not to make matters worse while legislating for Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR).

“Last year when this [Children and Family] law was being debated we were told by its defenders that all a child needs is ‘a loving parent’, but that there was nothing special about a mother’s love, or a father’s love. This completely contradicts the spirit of Mother’s Day. Wouldn’t it be more honest to call it ‘Parent’s Day’?”

She continued: “The Children and Family Relationships Act was only the first step. It created legal rights for those who use third party eggs and sperm to have children. The next step is to regulate the AHR industry itself. As currently proposed, the plan would allow one man or two men to use AHR to have a child using an egg they have purchased from one woman, plus a surrogate mother they have contracted, to bring a child into the world who will be deliberately deprived of the experience of a mother’s love.

“If the next Dail wanted, it could do so in such a way as to protect a child’s right to a mother and a father – assuming there was no constitutional challenge given the new definition of the family – but the outgoing Government does not intend to do this. Instead it wants to double-down on the previous law. While countries such as Sweden move towards banning all forms of surrogacy, our Government is proposing to fund it.”

Calling on the Government to ensure that laws around AHR to “fully respect the right of every child conceived via AHR to have a mother and a father”, Prof Casey concluded: “The next Dáil must ensure these issues are properly debated.”To celebrate Mother’s Day while planning a law that will allow some children to be deliberately deprived of a mother’s love is completely hypocritical.