CANDAL of Single Gays' Baby Factory", splashed the Mail on Sunday last week. The report concerned a new service set up by the Regent's Park Clinic in London which facilitates lesbians and homosexuals in search of parenting. "Lesbians who want to become mothers are paying a clinic £190 to be introduced to homosexuals who will father their children," went the report. "The shocking new 'matching service' includes lessons in self-insemination and takehome, do-it-yourself kits for the prospective parents."
The service is already advertised on the Internet, and will appear in special gay and lesbian magazines.
Shocked? Horrified? I don't quite see how anyone can be. Indeed, it all seems to me to be the perfectly logical outcome of "the woman's right to choose" ideology which now has such widespread approval. If people have the right to terminate a pregnancy, then it follows that they feel they have the right to instigate one, by whatever means. If "personal choice", rather than conjugal love, is the criterion for conception and birth, then why shouldn't lesbians and homosexuals be `S accorded the same consumer choice as others?
Once you dispense with the natural law — which affirms that the transmission of human life is inextricably linked with sexual intercourse — then every single "choice" and deviation follows. It follows that the medical profession will sterilise healthy young women of 25, and then expend enormous effort in assisting a 60 year old woman achieve a pregnancy. It follows that sperm will be sold through commercial outlets, and women will shop for sperm donors much as they shop for Gucci shoes. It follows that human eggs will be traded according to need and purchased according to "choice". And it follows that homosexuals will come to believe they are discriminated against because their sexual practices are not productive of pregnancy. They will be angry and aggrieved; they will demand equality (and in the sphere of adoption are already getting it). In the fullness of time, perhaps National Health services will follow the Regents' Park Clinic and supply self-insemination kits for lesbians, from homosexuals. After all, there is a demand for it: the Regent's Park Clinic said it was responding to "a huge demand from gay people who want to become parents". There will be those who say if rich gay people can get this service privately, then it's "not fair" if poorer gay people cannot get it on the national health.
The Regent's Park Clinic, incidentally, has been carrying out private abortions for 25 years, and to my certain knowledge will perform them as late as British law allows. In a way, providing assisted conception is not only a logical extension to their services, but a smart business move. In one wing of the clinic, they destroy pregnancies; in another, they create them. And there will be a fee remitted on both counts. Neat.
This is not to say, by the way, that homosexuals might not be good parents. Indeed, famous examples exist to prove the case. Harold Nicholson and Vita SackvilleWest, the Bloomsbury writers, had a kindly and affectionate marriage although he was a homosexual and she a lesbian. Their sons loved them dearly and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren honour their memory to this day, as does anyone who visits Vita's splendid garden at Sissinghurst. Yet, to have their children, they did submit themselves, if you like, to a heterosexual union; and having done so, and subsequently discovered their inclinations, they maintained that union and were genuinely devoted. They were good parents and they were homosexual in orientation. So it certainly can be done: education, leisure, space and money also help, by the way. As does the fact that the parents stayed together and remained loving as a mother and a father.
Whether it is ideal to set out to give birth to, and bring up a child, in a lesbian union, with episodic, or perhaps no, contact with the father is another question. Nature intended us to be, wherever possible, raised by a man and a woman, and the natural law would not favour deliberately taking another course. People can survive odd or eccentric upbringings but whether it is selfish to create unusual circumstances for a child's birth is another matter.
Still, the gay couples in question are only following where "the right to choose" culture has pioneered. People can now have whatever they want. Study the full menu and select your choice. Everyone must have equal access to all desires and science and technology must serve these consumer wants. Not coincidentally, perhaps, the report about this new service appeared on the 21st birthday of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, the technique which enhanced, still further, the notion that there is no more natural law that laboratory intervention cannot alter.
p s WHEN approached by a beggar, it is p s WHEN approached by a beggar, it is my usual custom to try and give food rather than money. Food is necessary nourishment, while money may keep the beggar on the streets. Thus a friend of mine — seeing a beggar carrying a notice saying "hungry" — purchased for him a ham sandwich. He refused it. "I'm a vegetarian," he said. Interesting index of a rising standard of living.