Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"We are no different as moral entrepreneurs as other rights advocates"

This unbelievably biased and poorly researched article (see below) is written by a libertarian believer in the laissez-fair/free market promoting donor/vendor/surrogacy ANONYMITY.

ReasonOnline – "Free Minds and Free Markets"
Who's Your Daddy?
Children of sperm donors are seeking more information about their once-anonymous fathers, sometimes at the risk of the fertility industry itself.

By Cheryl Miller – February 2009 Print Edition

Please read the comments, specifically, this comment (see below) made by Bill Cordray (a donor conceived man from the United States who is one of our most out spoken public advocates):

Bill Cordray, January 27, 2009
Tonio wrote: “I do not believe that anyone has an unqualified right to know who his parents are.

It's not the state withholding records, it's the doctors.”

Good point. There is no law in any state that gives a doctor the power to prohibit access by a donor conceived people (DCP) to the records of their identity. There is also no law preventing them from exercising this presumed prohibitive power of procreative preclusion. States wash their hands of their responsibility to the public to regulate infertility medicine. When DCP protest, the doctors say they are giving infertile people choice. In reality, the whole system is set up by doctors to promote a lucrative business that is self-governing, Laissez-faire, libertarian, whatever. The point is they make all the rules that ultimately do not protect anyone more than their own selves. They institute protections to sheild themselves from accountability, not to protect children, infertile people, sperm donors but only themselves. Donors and intending parents come to doctors and have to play by their rules, without any say in contracts and without recourse to state laws or even guidelines. State legislatures, courts, and governors have had no idea what the doctors are doing and cannot act without risking a counterattack by one of the most powerful lobby groups around, the AMA. The history of DI goes back to 1884. It’s cloak of secrecy and binding “contracts” have made its practices virtually unknown to society and therefore state governments. Until DCP came forth to speak out, no one knew that there was even anything possibly wrong with such an altruistic mission as helping barren women to have children. Now that governments know something about us does not mean that the “rights” issues are resolved but only that no one has expressed these issues effectively yet and so society is still ignorant of the profound sense of injustice that we DCP feel. We see our rights as being violated by such a system but we have not found the same kind of voice as Martin Luther King to make society understand it in their heart.

“[Tonio]: The doctors are withholding records to fulfill their contractual obligations to the donors.”

Well, this is meaningless since it is the doctors that created these contracts and who are the source of our disenfranchisement. The contracts have cleverly pitted the “rights” of infertile people against the “rights” of the donors, with the central figures (DCP) left without a voice, since we did not yet exist until after the contracts were signed. This manipulation of a balance of rights is meant to keep the prime mover in the background, as if he played no part and was just a “provider” instead of the creator of the whole system. Why does it seem that the DCP are such threats to grown adults deliberately chose to deny the DCP access to their identity? If we are so frightening that the contractual parties need protection from us, then why were we created in the first place? Certainly we are not created for our own sake, but for the interests of future parents, the ego of donors, and the profits of the doctors.

“[Tonio]: Absent of any legally enumerated right to know one's parentage, the state is passively enforcing the contract by failing to overturn it.”

That’s not really plausible since such contracts existed decades before any government was even aware they were being written. In addition, the validity of these contracts have never been seriously challenged in US courts and may be totally indefensible, much like the various yellow-dog contracts common during the era of laissez-faire Economics, prior to the Great Depression, until the Supreme Court struck down the Sanctity of Contracts tenet before the beginning of WW2. And yet these untested contracts, 70 years later, are somehow given an air of sacred script even though they expressly restrict the rights and interests of DCP, those of us who are now human beings because of the contracts but had no voice in how these writs would so deeply affect us. By the way, the concept of a donor’s right to privacy has no definition or principle that is consistent with the Rights of Privacy as first suggested by law student Louis Brandeis (not codified, by the way, until Brandeis was on the Court) and later expanded by Roe v. Wade and other decisions. As part of the contracts that infertility doctors and clinics have written, a donor’s right to anonymity is a legal invention, made up out of thin air, not by legislatures or approved by courts, but by doctors themselves who have presumed this power to define who has rights and who doesn’t in DI.

[Tonio]: “DONORCONCEIVED: Philosophers spout off this sort of thing all the time. There is a difference between philosophy and law. I realize you want the law to say something different than what it does, and I take no joy in pointing this out to you, but we are a nation of written laws, not of philosophical opinions. Wikipedia, and donor-conceived support sites, are not legal references. Sorry.”

I suppose you are correct in the strict sense but please remember that it was a political philosopher who pointed out that the natural rights that Jefferson proclaimed are as much a part of our heritage as those mere civil and social rights that change with every session, vary from state to state, and get clarified by court decisions, evolving over time and expanding in greater freedoms. After Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney declared in his Dred Scott Decision that Negroes were not citizens, Abraham Lincoln said that all Americans had naturally endowed rights, even black slaves, which are inherent, superior to civil and social rights, and not subject to majority rule. Out of this philosophical opinion came the Emancipation Proclamation, the Fourteenth Amendment that actually codified Jefferson’s natural rights, Johnson’s Civil Rights Acts, and the eventual election of a President who would not have been considered a citizen if Taney’s decision remained as the only legal precedent. Rights evolve and become codified when those of us who suffer injustice commit to the fight for the recognition of our natural rights. All we would need is action from President Obama to ratify the UN Charter on the Rights of Children and we would have enough precedent to push for the legal recognition of what we already know is our natural right to know our identity. We DCP see anonymity a social problem that restricts our identity interests and so we are no different as moral entrepreneurs as other rights advocates as King, Rosa Parks, Betty Freidan, Mario Salvo, Samuel Gompers, and Abraham Lincoln.

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