OPINION: Isn't Gammy's life at least equal to that of a dog?

I'VE said it before and I'll say it again, I am very opinionated.

As dogmatic as I can be, though, I always try to stop and mull things over when the topic turns to things like parenting, abortion, adoption and surrogacy.

Why? They are to do with personal choice and free will. God made a point of leaving us our free will, so I can hardly do less, can I?

I am personally anti-abortion, though I would never pass judgement on a woman who had chosen to abort her child - for whatever reason. I don't believe it is a choice that is generally made lightly. 

Adoption is something I wholeheartedly agree with. There are so many people who, for whatever reason, are unable to have children of their own and others who do not want to be parents or are unable to care for their own offspring. 

I'm not sure how I feel about surrogacy. Biologically, the surrogate is not the mother, but it is her body that cradles the baby. She keeps the baby safe and provides nourishment. How hard would it be to give birth to a baby that you had harboured in your body, felt grow and move for nine months and then hand it over to other people to take care of?

How hard, too, for the woman who will be the child's mother not to have the experience of carrying her baby to term herself.

Despite not wanting to be judgemental, I must admit that my outrage was fanned into flame last week when I read the following sentence on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Baby Gammy in a Thai hospital on Sunday. Photo: Am Sandford

Baby Gammy in a Thai hospital on Sunday. Photo: Am Sandford

"Gammy, a six-month-old baby abandoned by his Australian parents, could die because his impoverished Thai surrogate mother cannot pay for medical treatment for his congenital heart condition."

Shocking, isn't it? The story is that the Aussie couple were unable to conceive themselves, so they approached an agency in Bangkok who contracted a Thai surrogate to have a baby for them. 

It was a clear financial agreement. The Thai woman, with support from her husband, agreed to be the surrogate in return for money to clear their debt. The Australians were prepared to pay in order to start their own family. Three months after the fertalised egg was injected into the surrogate's uterus, it was discovered there were two babies. Then, four months into the pregnancy, they found that one of the unborn bubs had Down Syndrome. 

David and Wendy Farnell on 60 Minutes.

David and Wendy Farnell on 60 Minutes.

Apparently the parents said they didn't want the baby with Down Syndrome. The surrogate mother said they told her to have an abortion, but she didn't agree because of her Buddhist beliefs. When the twins, a girl and a boy, were born, the agent took the girl and simply left the boy. 

Did the Australian couple have the right to expect the woman to have an abortion after the deal had been struck and did they have the subsequent right to simply leave the child as if he was a broken toy that they no longer wanted to play with?

Alternatively, did the surrogate mother, considering she had entered into a financial agreement, have the right to refuse to abort the baby when the parents decided they didn't want him?

David and Wendy Farnell with baby Pipah on 60 Minutes.

David and Wendy Farnell with baby Pipah on 60 Minutes.

Of course, I am talking legal rights rather than moral ones here. 

Earlier this year a public outcry echoed around Griffith when a dog was found dead - starved of food, starved of water, starved of love. Isn't the life of a child at least equal to that of a dog?


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