One of the big problems with living in an age of rights is that when one person demands his or her rights, often someone else will suffer as a result. In the past people were more willing to forego rights in the interests of the community at large, or to keep the peace. And if rights were insisted upon, usually the corresponding duties were emphasised as well.
But today everyone wants a slice of the rights pie. And today very few are talking about things like duty, obligation or responsibility. In an age of entitlements, everyone expects that they should be treated like a king, with nothing denied or withheld.
Even worse, many of these so-called rights have simply been pulled out of a hat. Such rights never existed before, but have been artificially created by a generation which demands total fulfilment, constant gratification, and instant satisfaction. Also of great concern is the fact that many of these rights being demanded by adults entail the diminished rights of children.
One of the most basic and fundamental of rights a child has is the right to be raised by his or her own biological parents. That right is being stripped away as selfish adults demand alternate relationships recognition, such as same-sex marriage, and unfettered access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
Right now there is a dizzying array of ways to manufacture a baby, most involving anything but a biological mum and dad. In some of these new reproductive technologies there might be just one biological parent, and sometimes none. And often a number of players can be involved, whether a sperm donor, surrogate mum, or any number of others. Thus a child can often be raised by a team or a committee, rather than a loving mother and father.
Consider the case of IVF, and how older women are demanding the right to ART. For various reasons, more and more women are putting off child birth until it is far too late, and their biological clocks have well and truly run down.
Often these women have bought the feminist myth that the only fulfilled woman is a career woman, and that getting a good job and successful career should be the first priority for every woman, and only afterwards should children be considered.
Many millions of women have gone down this path, only to discover that climbing the corporate ladder is not all that fulfilling after all, and that those maternal instincts are just too strong to resist. So they turn to IVF and other forms of ART, hoping to make up for lost time. Thus we have heard all sorts of horror stories in the media lately.
Indeed, only days ago a story emerged concerning a 72-year-old British woman seeking to conceive. One press account puts it this way: “At the age of 72, she is old enough to know better. But it seems Jenny Brown cannot be deflected from her determination to give birth. Miss Brown, who has never had a long-term relationship, has already spent £30,000 in the United States and Italy trying to conceive and is now prepared to travel abroad again to clinics that still offer IVF treatment to women her age.”
She has gone through all this expense and grief of enduring six courses of IVF, and she is still going at it. Other cases of elderly women trying to do the same –some successfully – have made the headlines. Consider the case of a 52-year-old Adelaide woman who had triplets through IVF. And there is the case of a 65-year-old Indian woman, who, along with her 68-year-old husband, had a baby through IVF. More recently, a 63-year-old British woman underwent infertility treatment. Or consider the 66-year-old Romanian woman who had twins through ART. While one of the girls died, chances are the other girl in her formative adolescence will have a wheel-chair bound mother, if she is alive at all.
These children will be raised by someone more like a grandparent, in terms of age, than a parent. How will an energetic youngster be properly looked after by parents getting too old to physically keep up with them? And the later that parenthood begins, the greater the chance the child will experience the death of a parent.
Indeed, what triggered this article in the first place was a story in today’s media. It is an incredible story. Here is how the story goes: “A Spanish woman who deceived a US fertility clinic about her age and become the oldest woman to give birth has died at 69, leaving behind two-year-old twins, newspapers reported on Wednesday. Maria del Carmen Bousada gave birth in December 2006 after telling a clinic in Los Angeles that she was 55, the facility’s maximum age for single women receiving in-vitro fertilisation. Guinness World Records said the 66-year-old was the oldest woman on record to give birth and the case ignited fierce debate over how much responsibility fertility clinics have over their patients.”
How bizarre. How selfish. This seems to be all about just one thing: the selfish desires of adults, with no thought taken for the wellbeing of the children so conceived. These twins now have no mother, presumably they have no father. So what will come of them? This woman had her jollies for a few years, and is now gone from the scene. But these twins have the rest of their lives to live out, without the two most important people they could ever know and love.
But in an age of rights, the only person we are expected to be concerned about is our self. Who gives a rip about anyone else? As long as all my selfish whims, desires and wants are catered to, who cares how much others might suffer as a result of my selfishness?
This is the logical outcome of a society which is fixated on rights – many of them bogus – but does not know the meaning of the terms ‘responsibilities’ or ‘duties’. In such a misguided world, people are going to suffer. And the ones who are going to suffer the most are the children.
Any society that can create such an environment as that is a society that needs to be put out of its misery, before it causes any more harm and damage.