Between its extreme abortion bill and the governor’s racist photos, the state of Virginia has been headlining the news. But in the midst of the media frenzy, proposed changes to its parenthood laws were approved in the Virginia House today. Before my tweetstorm about it, #HB1979 had only a handful of tags. But it deserves serious attention because it turns children into products, all in the name of “progress.”
The Family Foundation of Virginia calls HB1979 “the most anti-family bill they’ve ever seen.” It aims to “update” Virginia’s laws on parenthood. “Updating” in 2019 means stripping parenthood laws of all references to “mother” and “father.” Gender neutral is so progressive, don’t ya know? The thing is, while we may be able to remove references to mother and father in law, we just can’t seem to remove the longings children have for their mother and father in their hearts.
Here are some kids with same-sex parents sharing how much they wanted their missing mother or father:
- I have two moms and am constantly wondering what it would be like to have a father and who my biological dad is. I’m wondering is there any way to find who he is? I’m not expecting him to jump and be some sort of active dad to me i just want to know who he is…
- Father’s Day sucks, and my mom thinks it’s society when really it’s just her. I love her but yeesh. She talks about genders like they don’t matter when raising kids. I want to know who my dad is. I need to bond with him and do daddy-daughter things. He’s half of who I am… We’re flesh and blood. If he and my mom were a couple, he’d be my dad. But when my mom is gay and asked him not to be there, he’s just my “donor”? Really? Where is my say in this?
- I’m a 15 year old girl and I have two moms. They’re wonderful and the best parents my sister and I could have asked for. But still, I want a dad… and I feel bad for saying that.
- I don’t really know if people understand how kick-ass it is that moms like mine had the strength to bring a child into this world on their own. You know, at first, that’s the only way I would look at my situation, that way things were more positive. But in reality, my kick-ass mom never knew and never will know the damage that not having a father has caused me.
- I am an only child who lives with my single lesbian mother. I never really even had a father figure in my life. It angers me because I feel like a missed out on so many opportunities that children with fathers have. Growing up without a father sucks. I mourn the loss of a childhood without a dad.
- Me, my baby brother, Dad, and Billy. We were a family. It was the only family I had ever known… [I watched] The Land Before Time. It is a classic movie. But for me it was a traumatic experience. I watched, eyes glued, as Littlefoot lost his Mother. Littlefoot had a “Mother” and she died saving his life. Littlefoot spent the entire movie mourning the loss of his “Mother.” It was in that moment, as a five year old girl, that I realized there was such a thing as a mother. It was also in that moment that I realized that I did not have one. I spent the rest of our free day at the gym crying into the arms of a teacher I would never see again for a mother that I never knew I never had.
Darn those kids. Why are they so un-progressive? So un-2019? Why do they have to want what every other human has wanted throughout history…to be known and loved by both their mother and father?
Now, before you start quoting “studies” that show that kids raised by same-sex couples fare “no different” than their peers raised by married mothers and fathers, take a look at the serious methodological flaws in that research. First study the studies, then we can talk.
HB1979 also expands the availability of surrogacy. I wrote about surrogacy last month when Ben Shapiro did a strange thing and…got something wrong. If you skip the article, here are the Cliff Notes: surrogacy is not pro-life or pro-child. It involves surplus embryos, abortion, eugenics, and sex selection. Surrogacy isn’t about babies – it’s about on-demand, designer babies. Turns out, even the babies that survive the surrogacy process are harmed as commodification doesn’t do much for children’s self-image:
- I am told, look how much your parents wanted you, they planned and saved to have you… When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after being paid you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself. –Jessica Kern (Child of Surrogacy)
- I don’t care why my parents or my mother did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want… But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. When you exchange something for money it is called a commodity. Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings. –Brian C (Child of Surrogacy)
- …being “wanted” can sometimes feel like a curse, like I was created to make you happy, my rights be damned. I’d be lying if I said I never felt commodified. – Bethany (donor-conceived)
- I have to live everyday with the full knowledge that I’m the product of a eugenic science experiment; – Nicholas Isel (donor-conceived)
- I knew from an early age that I was purchased and selected from essentially a catalog. I knew that my blonde hair and blue eyes was somehow valued above other colorations—because my mother never fell in love with my father, he was never a full human being to her only a handful of breeding details. I always knew that I was purchased and created precisely to make her happy, that was my raison d’etre. – Alana Newman (donor-conceived)
And finally, this bill swaps biology for “intent” as the basis of parenthood. And here we’re really playing with fire. Because “intent” to parent neither provides children with the biological identity that they crave, nor does it give them the adults who, statistically, are the most likely to provide the stability and love that children deserve. When it comes parenting, biology matters especially when protecting children from abuse.
Children conceived via sperm donor who are being raised by even one “intended” parent fare worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency, and substance abuse. The largest study on outcomes for donor conceived children, My Daddy’s Name is Donor, reveals that, on average, young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families. Moreover, the study found that:
- Two-thirds agree, “My sperm donor is half of who I am”;
- About half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception;
- Two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins;
- About half of donor offspring have concerns about or serious objections to donor
conception itself, even when parents tell their children the truth.
If this is how sperm-donor children feel, can you imagine how children created with donor sperm and eggs, or those who are created with donated gametes and also intentionally mother- or father-less, or those who are donor-conceived and also separated from their birth mother are going to fare? We are experimenting on children and only beginning to see the devastating fall-out. HB1979 endorses that experimentation.
You may have questions about how you can support adoption and oppose HB1979 so let me say this: a just society cares for orphans – it doesn’t create them. While it is sometimes impossible to be raised by both biological parents, those situations are tragic for children and they should never be intentionally replicated through reproductive technologies. And certainly not codified in law. Here’s a detailed rundown on how bills like HB1979 go against adoption best practice.
When it comes to family, children have universally-recognized rights. At the very top of the list: children have a natural right to a relationship with both biological parents whenever possible. When these rights are respected, it maximizes their chances for a physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy life. We harm children when we disregard their rights and turn them into products that can be swapped and traded, cut and pasted into any and every household configuration.
I’m tired of policymakers allowing the desires of adults to drive legislation, because it’s the children who pay…for life. Regardless of how legitimate the longing to become a parent may be, it’s unjust to strip children of their fundamental rights to satisfy the desires of adults.
Repeat this phrase over and over:
Children are not commodities.
Children are not commodities.
Children are not commodities.
And then act, and vote, accordingly.