Change in the air

There are two articles in today’s Courier that highlight an interesting juxtaposition about how far we’ve come as a society and how far we’ve yet to travel.
One story deals with Bridgewater author Meg Hale and a book she has written about a mothers’ movement fighting to change laws to make it easier for adopted children to find their biological parents and for biological parents to reach out to their adopted children.
Ms Hale was part of that movement and she was also once a teenage unwed mother who gave her daughter up for adoption because she was pressured into it – both by the social norms of the time and by those supposedly looking after her best interests.
Back in late 1960s there was no financial support for single mothers and pregnant unmarried women were essentially told that depriving their children of a two-parent family was incredibly selfish.
Then, having given up their children because they were told it was the right thing to do, many of these women were vilified.
Today most people under the age of 50 would be incredulous about such attitudes towards women – that their unmarried status alone made them unfit to be mothers.
And yet today SA appears to be making another judgment call about mothers, and even fathers, who conceive using donor sperm.
The second Courier story deals with Littlehampton couple Sally Amazon and Elise Duffield who cannot have both their names on their son’s birth certificate because they did not share a household for three years before conceiving using a donor.
This is in contrast with heterosexual couples who conceive using donor sperm but who do not need to be in any prescribed relationship when they access assisted insemination.
It is also in contrast with the laws in other States of Australia where meeting the requirements of a defacto relationship is sufficient to meet laws governing whose names can and cannot go on a birth certificate.
The couple is now fighting to change the law and no doubt in time the inequity of the situation will be addressed by government.
As a society we are constantly evolving and discarding old opinions in favor of what we see as the best way forward.
It’s an interesting ride.