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An interesting ironic controversy featuring lesbians and racism woohoo!?!?!

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I read about this over on Autostraddle, which took the same position that article did; this comment by KP sums up my feelings better than I ever could:

 

"Let’s call a spade a spade here people. Straight couples who have children have the option of deciding who they want to have a baby with every single day. They make decisions about partners based on future children. Do they all? Maybe not. But many do. And that is OK, because here’s a phrase we don’t give enough importance to in Texas, IT IS THEIR BODY, SO IT IS THEIR CHOICE.

And at the end of the day, this is about a woman’s right to choose her baby’s biological father. At no point has she said she loves her child less. If this was about blatant racism like the very qualified writer of this article suggested, this would be a case of abandonment. The parents would not be spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to sue a negligent clinic if they just ‘didn’t want black sperm’. Her desire for her baby to resemble her partner, while completely valid, is a non-issue here. This is a woman who was betrayed by people she should have been able to trust. The betrayal is not the result. It is obvious that she loves her baby. But when it came to her reproductive rights, she was raked through the coals by a firm that obviously could care less. This woman had a right to choose the sperm that was put into her body. Regardless of her reasons for choosing a specific sperm, she made a decision that was HER RIGHT TO MAKE. NOT her doctor’s right.
And yeah, maybe it’s going to be sad when this little girl googles her name. Or maybe, despite the fact that we’re painting them as monsters, these are actually good parents. Maybe they will work to make sure she understands that she is loved. Maybe they will use the extra 50k in their pockets to ensure that their little girl has a better life, considering that they brought her into a world they no longer feel equip to protect her from.
I’m so disappointed in Autostraddle for this. There are many many many queer women with the legal background to actually get into this, and many of them are writers. To not at least consult them, and to take the word of WikiPedia as a way to call someone a racist is irresponsible reporting and, at best, simply ignorant."

 

and this one by Xanadu:

 

"I’m really annoyed at the way this story is being spun in various media.

If this were a straight, hetero couple who received the sperm (or egg) of another couple who were using this clinic – people would be outraged and freaked out. Media would be calling for reviews and regulations. There would be acknowledgement of the difficulties that lie ahead for the families.

But because this is a lesbian couple, apparently this was “meant to be†on some spiritual level (sarcasm) and they’re ungrateful racists.

No. This wasn’t meant to be, this was human error – in a business where you cannot have human errors. Multiple checks and balances should happen along the way to prevent human error from happening.

As someone who is going through fertility treatment, this is the kind of thing that scares the hell out of a woman. It’s bad enough having to choose the DNA of a stranger to be implanted in one’s body. We rely on these clinics to have our wishes adhered to and for them to get the details right.

Where I live is extremely regimented with rules and regulations around fertility procedures. Maybe the US needs more regulation?"

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And this is why I'm against artificial reproductive technology. They paid for a product, it wasn't as they ordered, and now they want compensation. Granted, people who get pregnant naturally can do this, too, when they abort a child because they're disabled, for example, and therefore "not the child they wanted to have" but I think ART fosters this kind of mentality.

 

I honestly don't think the fact that it's two women matters, either. I'd have little sympathy for a straight couple whom this happened to. Sure, it's unfortunate, but as the comment above mentioned, this is an industry that manufactures babies, and like any business, they're bound to make mistakes just as a matter of human error. If you're messing around with human life, expect things to go wrong. Stories like this just show that you shouldn't take the risk.

 

I feel sorry for the little girl, and I hope she's not going to be scarred from all of this. Not only is she never going to have a relationship with her father, but she's also got to deal with the idea that she had the "wrong" father, and the fact that this has all been put out by the media for the world to see.

 

(In case you hadn't noticed, this subject is one I have very strong views on...)

 

xxx

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Also, I honestly think it is the right thing for these parents to admit that yes, they know almost no black people and very little about black culture, yes, they have very racist family members, and yes, they live in a very racist town/state. Logically, it seems that yeah, it is a bad idea to bring a black child into an environment full of such hostility and ignorance. Clearly, the parents need to learn quickly in order to do right by their daughter, and it seems they are trying to. In an ideal world, would it be best for the family and the town to become not-racist? Yeah, obviously. Is that a change that is likely to happen soon enough to benefit their daughter? Absolutely not. Their plan for the money is to use it to move to a more accepting and diverse area that they believe will be psychologically more healthy for their daughter -- it's really pretty hard to argue that the move isn't necessary.

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She didn't seem so pissed that the baby was black, more the fact that she wanted it to look like her partner.
It seemed they were more upset about receiving the wrong sperm. I think if the baby had turned out any other nationality or hair colour or eye colour than her partner, she would have been upset, but maybe I heard it wrong.

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Yeah, that was one thing I was curious about: if the bio mom was disappointed that the baby didn't "look like her partner" (she had requested a donor with blonde hair and blue eyes), would she have felt just as disappointed if the donor was a white brown-eyed brunet? If that were truly the case, then it would be pretty relieving I guess.

 

Hypothetically speaking, if it were me, I'd feel morally obligated to sue the sperm bank even if the mix-up had been more or less an "irrelevant" one (say, mixing up one brown-haired blue-eyed known donor with another brown-haired blue-eyed known donor). Because if they mixed up with me, they could end up mixing things up with someone else too, in a way that had significantly worse consequences (what if it was really important to someone to have a donor who is willing to meet the child when they turn 18, and they accidentally give them sperm from a completely anonymous donor? what if a man had sperm stored at the bank exclusively for use with his wife, and they accidentally gave it to a completely random woman? or, what if it were the other way around, and they gave his wife sperm from a totally random man?). If I already knew they were capable of a screw-up on such a huge magnitude, I'd feel incredibly guilty if, down the line, I heard of a case of an even worse mix-up coming from that same bank, and I had remained totally silent.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with a white person (or a person of any other race/group) wanting their child to look like them. Many people wish to live through their children so to speak & someone may feel a stronger connection with their child if they looked like them (to whatever extent). It's clear that the sperm-bank made a huge mistake so they should own up to it & pay the damages. I'm glad the woman has gone public with this because as much as I'm "pro-business", I also believe a business should suffer the consequences of its actions when it effs up! The most annoying thing for me is that this story is all about how "racism is still alive & well" rather the real issue (in my opinion) which is the huge blunder on the part of the sperm-bank!

 

Just on the topic of racism, I always like to make a distinction between those who may be prejudiced & those that are violent extremists. Anybody can be prejudiced about a whole bunch of things because prejudice is born out of ignorance & none of us can claim to know everything about everyone so prejudice is always going to exist so long as there's diversity amongst people. I'm not saying prejudice is always acceptable but at least it can be tolerable, violent extremism, of course, isn't. If we consider prejudice in others aspects, let's consider the fact that religious people who were raised in a religious environment often think that non-religious people don't care about morality at all while those who have grown up in a non-religious environment may think that all religious people are idiots who believe in these fairytales, waiters can be prejudiced against non-waiters & vice versa, & so on. The point is we can all be prejudiced in some way about a bunch of people & yet, it's the issue of race that gets people's engines revved up but I think that makes it all the more important that we see the difference between prejudiced & violent extremists. So if someone is prejudiced towards people of a certain race/culture/whatever then that is a lot more tolerable than someone who just wants to hurt, subjugate or kill people of a certain race/culture/whatever. The difference is the same as someone religious thinking that non-religious people are immoral & those religious people that want to hurt & kill non-religious people; I wouldn't feel the need to pay attention to the former but I'd definitely think that the latter mindset is totally unacceptable. Similarly, if someone was prejudiced due to my race/culture then I'd just ignore them while I'd definitely be more concerned about violent extremists. Uhhh, I hope this bit of rambling makes sense....

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