Concern surrogacy laws may lead to ‘coercion’ of intended parents | Ireland

Sam Everingham, Global Director of Growing Families, an Australian organisation which provides advice to parents on international surrogacy, said Irish parents could struggle to find surrogates abroad at all if payments are banned.

The surrogacy landscape is constantly changing. India has banned international surrogacy; Georgia will follow suit next year; while Ukraine – previously a very popular destination for Irish couples – is now not a safe option.

This problem was starkly highlighted just last month in Greece, when eight people were arrested at a major fertility clinic in Crete, and are now under investigation for trafficking vulnerable women from countries like Georgia and Albania to become surrogates for foreign couples.

During an interview following a recent conference in Dublin, Prime Time asked Sam Everingham why his organisation had recommended the clinic. He initially disputed that contention, saying his organisation does not recommend any clinic or agency, and that simply it provides information. However, after further questions he conceded that the language on his site represented a recommendation.

Mr Everingham also conceded that Growing Families cannot stand over the accuracy of any of the content provided on its website. He said the website constitutes a repository of information provided to it by others and therefore his organisation is not responsible for the veracity of the material provided.

Source: Concern surrogacy laws may lead to ‘coercion’ of intended parents

Australian Human Rights Commission Decision Prohibits Female-Only Events For Lesbians – Reduxx

Australia’s Human Rights Commission has released a preliminary decision prohibiting lesbians from holding events for females due to the exclusion of men who identify as “women.” The Commission’s decision comes after a lesbian rights group applied for an exemption under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

The application to the Commission was submitted by long-time Australian women’s rights activist Jean Taylor on behalf of herself and the members of the Lesbian Action Group, a collective established to address discrimination experienced by lesbians.

[T] he Lesbian Action Group attempted to organize a female-only lesbian event at the Victorian Pride Centre this past August. The event was meant to celebrate International Lesbian Day on October 15, 2023, but the Pride Centre declined the booking, claiming that it was exclusionary and conflicted with the organization’s aim of supporting “equality, diversity and inclusion.”

The Commission received a total of 236 submissions on the application from individuals and groups by the closing date of September 1, 2023. Of those submissions, 123 individuals and 15 organizations were in favor of the exemption while 82 individuals and 14 organizations were opposed.

One of the applications opposed to the exemption came from Equal Opportunity Tasmania and referred to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner ruling late last year that women-only events are discriminatory towards men who claim they are women.

Like the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s preliminary view is that it will not grant the temporary 5-year exemption sought by the Lesbian Action Group to host its International Lesbian Day Event or to hold subsequent female-only lesbian events.

While the Commission recognized that “lesbians in Australia have faced structural and entrenched discrimination” and that “it may be important and beneficial for lesbians to gather together as a community,” it nevertheless was not persuaded that it is appropriate or reasonable to “make distinctions between women based on their cisgender or transgender experience.”

Australian women’s rights activist Janet Inglis took to X (formerly Twitter) to express her disappointment with the decision.

“The gender amendments to the SDA [Sex Discrimination Act] must be repealed. Our HRC has proven itself unfit for purpose and must be disbanded if it can no longer distinguish between men and women because of shonky legislation,” she explained. “A true HRC would be working to repeal those amendments and restore the rights of lesbians to be recognised in their own right.”

On X, Inglis also called on others to consider making a submission to respond to the Commission’s preliminary view before the October 3, 2023 deadline.

[Ed: no decision has yet been made, the Commission has only issued a ‘preliminary view’.]

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission Decision Prohibits Female-Only Events For Lesbians – Reduxx

‘We must not look away’: New report on institutional child sexual abuse in Tasmania

A commission of inquiry has released its final report into the Tasmanian government’s responses to child sexual abuse in institutional settings, finding that the response to incidents of abuse across the state have been “too often, inadequate”.

“More commonly, institutions did not recognise child sexual abuse for what it was and failed to act decisively to manage risks and investigate complaints. Sometimes this was due to a lack of guidance and direction on how to manage incidents well but, also, due to ignorance, inertia and a desire to protect reputational interests,” the report said.

“Victim survivors have been abused by the very people who are supposed to care for them. And they were failed by the system that is meant to protect them. It is time for change. It is time to reflect on some of our most painful moments in Tasmania’s history, and to build a culture in our institutions that will ensure it is never repeated.”

Rockliff also offered an apology to victim-survivors of child abuse.

“We are deeply sorry to all those who have suffered abuse in Tasmanian institutions and to your families and loved ones,” Rockliff said.

“We failed you. We are all accountable. And we are sorry. And we know that words are not enough. Today I reaffirm our government’s commitment to implement every one of the Commission’s 191 recommendations.”

The commissioners said it would be a “tragedy” if the report was treated as “the product of just another inquiry to file and forget”.

Source: ‘We must not look away’: New report on institutional child sexual abuse in Tasmania

Moira Deeming launches website to fund legal battle against John Pesutto

Expelled Liberal MP Moira Deeming launched a fundraising website on Tuesday afternoon, as she prepares to file her defamation case against Victorian Opposition leader John Pesutto in the federal court.

The impending legal action comes as UK women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen is expected to file her own defamation suit against all four members of the Victorian Liberal leadership team imminently, the 28 day notice period having elapsed on Monday.

Senior Liberals have for weeks attempted to encourage Mr Pesutto and Mrs Deeming to reach a compromise, but the Australian understands formal mediation has reached an impasse, with Mr Pesutto unwilling to meet Mrs Deeming’s demands.

On Tuesday afternoon, following extensive legal advice, Mrs Deeming launched the website, seeking donations from supporters to help her raise $250,000 required to proceed with the defamation case.

Mrs Deeming said she was the sole income earner for her family, which includes her husband, Andrew, and their four children.

“We’ve already spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees, trying to have this matter resolved outside of court.”

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Joint Letter to the Hague Convention Secretariat

Secretary General Bernasconi,

We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on
violence against women and girls, its causes, and consequences; Special Rapporteur on the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 50/7, 52/26 and 52/7.

In this connection, we would also like to draw your attention to the thematic report
of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls on custody, violence against women, violence against children presented to the fifty-third session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2023 (A/HRC/53/36). In the said report, the Special Rapporteur called on the international community to acknowledge the egregious miscarriages of justice that regularly occur in both family courts and courts that adjudicate Hague abduction cases internationally. This is a global human rights issue which must be urgently addressed in order to safeguard mothers and their children


Source: Microsoft Word – Joint Letter to the Hague Convention Secretariat.docx – 20230919-Joint-Letter-Hague-Conference-Private-International-Law.pdf

GERMANY: Pro-Prostitution Picture Book Offered To Children By Government Officials – Reduxx

The city of Berlin has prompted outrage from locals after offering a graphic picture book on prostitution to children via its official website. The book, titled Rosie Needs Money (Rosi sucht Geld), is advertised as a resource for youth aged 6 to 12 years old.

According to Equal Opportunities Officer Kerstin Drobick, the book is a “helpful tool” for explaining prostitution to children of families residing in a red-light district of Berlin, located in Kurfürstenkiez, known as Kurfürstenstraße.

Rosie Needs Money is written from the perspective of a child named Maryam, whose family relocated to Germany from Syria.

Maryam narrates as she and her equally-young schoolmate, Martin, look for Rosie, a woman from Bulgaria who is in the sex trade. Maryam says that her mother told her that Rosie is often “looking for money” in the street. Rosie is described as having many friends who are also migrant women from Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, and Lithuania.

The book also explains that Rosie gives condoms to the men which they “put over their penises for sex.” This is done to prevent pregnancy and as “protection against disease,” a statement that is accompanied by a disturbing child-like drawing of a smiling penis with a pink condom on it.

Martin then appears to reference pornography, saying: “It’s different from mom and dad. Mom makes love to dad, but Rosie’s men don’t make love, they make sex like on TV.”

Bizarrely, the book concludes with quotes from children and young people who live in areas where street prostitution takes place. Most of the sentiment is overwhelmingly negative, and presented as examples of attitudes towards prostitution in youth which require discussion.

Speaking to Reduxx, Elly Arrow, a German advocate for the abolition of the sex industry, calls the whole book “schizophrenic,” noting that the children quoted in the book clearly don’t want to see the industry normalized.

“The brochure is unbelievably irresponsible. It is right to teach kids to not disrespect women in street prostitution but the brochure makes it out that these women could become a child’s friends! Due to a language barrier and the presence of sex buyers and pimps this is implausible and dangerous. Kids in the latter part of the brochure even state the whole situation makes them afraid but the brochure tries to actively remove that fear,” Arrow told Reduxx.

Source: GERMANY: Pro-Prostitution Picture Book Offered To Children By Government Officials – Reduxx

Breastfeeding better for planet, climate change than being a vegan | The Australian

According to the algorithms developed by ANU honorary associate professor Julie Smith, my breastfeeding efforts are enough to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the use of our family car for one year. It’s a bigger carbon offset than going vegan for 1.5 years or vegetarian for 2.5 years. It also easily offsets 144kg of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from an estimated 36kg of formula we used after weaning.

The positive impacts of improving rates of breastfeeding are difficult to ignore. Research from the World Health Organisation estimates that exclusively breastfeeding all babies in Britain for the first six months would offset the use of up to 77,000 cars every year. It’s also a population control, naturally delaying the return of fertility for women and helping them space children further apart in places where access to birth control is low.

Using data from her 2002 study based on early weaning at Canberra Hospital, Smith estimates that improving breastfeeding rates could save up to $120m across the Australian hospital system. A study from the US showed breastfed babies presented at hospital less and required fewer prescriptions.

The repeated failure to improve breastfeeding rates, despite strategies and mounting evidence of the benefits, tells us that no amount of preaching to women about the benefits of breastfeeding will improve breastfeeding rates. As long as time out of the paid workforce comes at such a significant personal cost to women, early cessation of breastfeeding will continue. Legislating paid parental leave that falls several months short of the six-month breastfeeding recommendation is a special form of stupidity.

If women lack the structural, financial and cultural support required to breastfeed, they won’t be able to do it for as long as is recommended. They will feel individually responsible for a systemic failing, adding further to the stress and pressure of parenthood.

Source: Breastfeeding better for planet, climate change than being a vegan | The Australian

California’s governor has vetoed a controversial transgender bill | The Australian

California governor Gavin Newsom has once again fuelled speculation he might run for president next year after vetoing a controversial bill that would have required courts to consider, when ruling on custody, whether parents would ‘affirm’ the gender identity of their children.

In a rare use of his executive veto, Mr Newsom on Friday night local time (Saturday AEST) torpedoed California bill AB957 which had the overwhelming support of the Democratic Party in the biggest US state, passing its Democrat-controlled assembly 57 to 16 earlier this month.\
Yet the potential law had drawn harsh criticism, including from X-owner Elon Musk, at a time transgender rights have emerged as a hot political issue nationally. “What it actually means is that if you disagree with the other parent about sterilising your child, you lose custody,” Mr Musk said on X earlier this month.
Despite the governor’s denials of any plans to run, and public support for Mr Biden and Vice President and fellow Californian Kamala Harris, Mr Newsom remains the third most likely individual to become the next president, behind Joe Biden and Donald Trump, according to political betting market PredictIt.

Source: California’s governor has vetoed a controversial transgender bill | The Australian

GERMANY: Woman Warned By Court After Questioning Butterfly Symbol Used By Trans Rights Group – Reduxx

A woman in Germany has been warned by a court after comparing a transgender organization’s recently-adopted mascot and a symbol known to be used by pedophiles. Rona Duwe, a women’s rights campaigner, has received an order from the Higher Regional Court in Cologne barring her from further comparisons.

The butterfly mascot was designed by Andrea Fleßner, a trans-identified male involved in the founding of Fielappers. Fleßner also has a close working relationship with DGTI.

“The butterfly with light blue and pink heart-shaped wings is also known internationally as a symbol for ‘child lover,’” Duwe wrote. “These symbols are used by the US FBI as an identification marker for pederast rings. In addition to adults, Fielappers also advises relatives and parents of ‘trans children’ and offers a brochure.”

Though the Cologne court did agree with Duwe that the symbols bear a resemblance to each other, trans activists and members of the German press have used the ruling to warn those critical of gender ideology against making similar statements.

Source: GERMANY: Woman Warned By Court After Questioning Butterfly Symbol Used By Trans Rights Group – Reduxx

‘Disgusting’ defence to compo claim

The NSW Education Department is arguing in a legal suit that Chris Dawson’s victim had a “share in responsibility” for being groomed because she didn’t end her relationship with him.

It also claims the former student was somewhat at fault for the hurt caused byDawson’s abuse because she failed to tell her parents about the relationship, did not report it to the police and did not notify the school.

Shine Lawyers abuse lawyer Sheree Buchanan said the defence was “completely ignorant of the power imbalance” between a student and her teacher.

“The element of control in the perpetrator’s position being that of authority would have allowed him to exert such influence over a vulnerable victim, regardless of her age,” Ms Buchanan said.

The defence also claims the department had no duty of care over the girl except during school hours, on school grounds and while the school curriculum was being performed.

Source: Subscribe to The Australian | Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps