Single Women and In Vitro Fertilization

Back in August I wrote about an Australia court’s ruling that overturned laws in some Australian states banning single women from having in vitro fertilization (|Australia Prime Minister Wants to Ban In Vitro Fertlization for Single Women|). In that case a law passed by the state of Victoria was overturned on the grounds that it violated Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act which, among other things, makes it illegal to discriminate based on marital status.

Last week, the Australian Supreme Court announced it would hear an appeal on behalf of Australia’s Catholic bishops to have that court ruling overturned, and the Australian prime minister is apparently continuing his efforts to have the sex discrimination act amended in such a way as to make the ban on in vitro fertilization for single women pass muster.

The case here is complicated somewhat because apparently the Australian government subsidizes such infertility treatments through its health care system. The state shouldn’t discriminate between single and married women as far preventing in vitro fertilization, but on the other hand it shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing such treatment for either single or married women.

Some commentators such as Leslie Cannold (Woman’s Quest for Solo Parenthood Ignites Debate) are being a bit hypocritical when they portray any opposition as aimed at undercutting women’s independence since apparently the woman in this case is more than happy to be dependent on the state to provide her for her fertilization treatments.

Women certainly should have access to in vitro fertilization, but definitely not a right for taxpayers to pick up the costs of the expensive procedure.


Woman’s Quest for Solo Parenthood Ignites Debate. Leslie Cannold, WomensENews.Org, October 25, 2000.

Post Revisions:

There are no revisions for this post.

Leave a Reply