Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Evan Harris does well in Lesbian couple IVF debate

I sometimes worry about myself. For about an hour, I've been watching the House of Commons debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and the amendment on "the need for...a father or male role model" in cases of lesbian couples applying for IVF treatment. It's quite absorbing.

The health minister Dawn Primarollo, though spirited, managed to put all her thoughts through a "minister-speak" mangle.

Evan Harris is producing a remarkably articulate and penetrating case against the amendment. Quite rightly he highlighted the fact that the amendment does not say how the presence of a "father or male role model" would actually be judged. Would there need to be any man dragged along to an interview "for the sake of it", or a letter signed by a man....any man?

Evan also said that it would be strange to ask a gynaecologist, of all people, to judge on fathers and male role models. That tickled me.

Several dinosaurs on the Tory benches have asked for the amendment to send out a message on the importance of fathers. As Evan Harris said, using statute to send out a message is not normally sensible, especially given the many other opportunities to do so.

Geraldine Smith, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale has just been tied up in knots by John Bercow.

It seems to me that the amendment is really nothing to do with IVF procedures. It is more to do with making a general point on the need for a father.

It really is gravely insulting to say that there should be a "third" sort of pseudo-parent in a family which already has two caring parents. It is downright daft.

Sir Patrick Cormack is now exploding.

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