My word, this is terrible isn\’t it?

It is interesting that the biggest challenge to the regulation of assisted reproduction has not – perhaps surprisingly – come from new technologies and scientific developments, but instead from the fact that the internet has made it extraordinarily easy for people to navigate making their own arrangements outside of the regulated sector. Perhaps what we should fear most is not some scary new discovery in the laboratory, but the wholesale bypassing of regulation through internet-assisted conception.

People just getting on with their lives without the intervention of the priestly caste of clipboard wielders.

Just think, if everyone did that then there would be no need for clipboard wielders and then where would we be, eh? You might call the result a free and liberal society but that\’s not what we mean by liberal these days, not at all it isn\’t.

22 thoughts on “My word, this is terrible isn\’t it?”

  1. “…the wholesale bypassing of regulation through internet-assisted…”
    Worth looking at those words. If libertarians should have a purpose, it’s discovering ways of doing exactly this & then disseminating the knowledge as widely as possible. The more people by-pass the “systems” the less power these clipboard wielders have. Make enough end-runs round them holes through them & the systems themselves become unworkable. Even the natural reaction of their advocates of tightening the loopholes & extending their powers becomes counter productive as they inconvenience more & more people.
    Be subversive for a better world.

  2. Well, maybe if the state hadn’t colossally fucked things up by giving kids contact rights to their sperm donor fathers, leading to a collapse in donations, we wouldn’t have this problem.

    And you know, I wouldn’t mind the state colossally fucking things up. Everyone colossally fucks things up occassionally. One of the key differences between commercial organisations and the state is that commercial organisations fix their colossal fuck ups quickly (fire Gerald Ratner, dump New Coke).

  3. Every time I start to think that the Left is just misguided, and not actually in some ways evil, they say something like this, and I am forced to confront the fact that there is actually something wrong with them at a base level.

    Perhaps what we should fear most is…the wholesale bypassing of regulation…

    Words cannot quite describe the levels of crapping contempt that sentence makes me feel. Feel physically, like a twinge of toothache.

  4. “You might call the result a free and liberal society but that’s not what we mean by liberal these days, not at all it isn’t.”

    That’s what has been confusing me for some time. I count myself a liberal, but I would not support, for example, the bailing out of banks (in principle) or the state prioritising major corporations. Yet, these are apparently ‘neo-liberal’ things to do.

    I just want the most freedom for the most people. Now ‘liberal’ is a term of abuse, what should we call ourselves?

  5. Surreptitious Evil

    One of the key differences between commercial organisations and the state is that commercial organisations fix their colossal fuck ups quickly

    I’ve a nagging suspicion that, for some in the state (and the conspiracy theorists can start jumping up and down and yelling ‘Common Purpose’ here), what we consider as a “colossal fuck up” is actually an important cog successfully inserted in to some shadowy master plan.

    Note that you can have shadowy master plans (a la Gramsci) without needing an organised conspiracy behind it.

    the bailing out of banks (in principle) or the state prioritising major corporations. Yet, these are apparently

  6. Surreptitious Evil

    Sighs …

    the bailing out of banks (in principle) or the state prioritising major corporations. Yet, these are apparently ‘neo-liberal’ things to do.

    No, these are statist or corporatist things. “Neo-liberal” in this case is merely a term of leftist abuse – cf “Nazi” or “facist”. The neo-liberal thing to do would be to have let the banks go bust (strict neo-liberals wouldn’t even intervened to permit an orderly transfer of accounts to other backs, nor would they have deposit insurance) and to wonder wtff the state is doing interfering in any way with corporations, major or otherwise, other than taxing them.

    The current term of choice might be “libertarian” or, for the more extreme amongst us “minarchist”. Unfortunately, the former is being “embraced and extended” by the American radical right who, although they generally agree with us on matters economic, bring US right-wing bible thumping with them, therefore are generally less reliable on social matters. Where the government should keep its prodding nose out as well.

    So you are left with “classical liberal”, I’m afraid.

  7. SMfS
    But what regulation would prevent a recurrence? Turkey basters are on sale in the high street & there’ll be plenty of inadvertent sperm donors walking out of any pub on a Friday night.
    It’s damned certain anyone bent on this course won’t be sharing their intentions with the appropriate agencies for approval, so what degree of intrusiveness do you recommend to prevent it? Any girl of 14, who’s unfortunate enough to get herself knocked up, gets taken into care?

  8. Surreptitious Evil

    Oh, I agree that some regulation is needed in this area (and, generally, in the medical field). And the regulation we had for assisted reproduction 10 or so years ago didn’t seem to cause that many problems.

    Of course, it’s a politically sensitive area, therefore incompetent fiddling was clearly required 🙁

  9. Surreptitious Evil

    I agree. The Gramsci model of infiltration (my word) has proved far more successful in the western world than direct revolutionary activity. Its insertion into the very concept of common sense leads us to a place where someone can write

    “Perhaps what we should fear most is…the wholesale bypassing of regulation…”

    without the reader recoiling at the horror of it.

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “But what regulation would prevent a recurrence?”

    Can we start by making sure it is a crime?

    “Turkey basters are on sale in the high street & there-ll be plenty of inadvertent sperm donors walking out of any pub on a Friday night.”

    But they would have to be pretty drunk not to notice something is wrong with a ranting nut case American who wants them to knock up her 14 year old adopted daughter.

    “It-s damned certain anyone bent on this course won-t be sharing their intentions with the appropriate agencies for approval, so what degree of intrusiveness do you recommend to prevent it?”

    An interview with the girl? A check of age?

    “Any girl of 14, who-s unfortunate enough to get herself knocked up, gets taken into care?”

    I have said it before, to much angry flaming, and I will say it again I do not doubt, the Irish Magdalene Asylums were probably the most humane solution anyone has ever found to single teenage mothers. But in this case, it seems not as having a child seems to be the best thing that ever happened to this child.

  11. I fail to see why SMFS’s Mail story makes a case for “regulation”. Some people do bad (and sometimes weird) things to one another, and they are a matter for the criminal law. A coerced pregnancy is a violation akin to rape and should be treated as a similar criminal act. Where “regulation” comes in I cannot fathom.

    As to the Magdalene Laundries, the problem seems to come down to why one would think that “single teenaged mothers” need a “solution” at all. Where exactly other people gain the authority from to imprison them, leaves little old libertarian me scratching my head.

  12. SMfS, if we made it a crime for mothers to forcibly inseminate their daughters who would we go about enforcing it. It would still be after the fact, and it could still be covered by many other crimes. OK, it’s a very specific crime. But even if we made it more general, how general would we need to make it before it starts encroaching on other existing crimes.

    But the end result of a baby being born to a teenager is not any different to the many other cases of teenagers having babies at 13,14,15, or 16. In all cases, it’s not that often and creating a whole new law (to the tens if not hundreds of thousands already in existence) will not cure the problem.

  13. Surreptitious Evil

    SBML,

    It’s assault by penetration on a 14 year old – contrary to s10(2)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. s21(12)(b) may apply as well.

    But the witch has been convicted, yes?

  14. Surreptitious Evil

    Oh, sorry, and that’s only because the girl in question consented. If she had been forcibly inseminated then it would have been a s2(1) offence as well.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “I fail to see why SMFS’s Mail story makes a case for [regulation].”

    Really? You think no offense has taken place? Nothing that cries out for some form of punishment?

    “Some people do bad (and sometimes weird) things to one another, and they are a matter for the criminal law.”

    Which is, obviously, a form of regulation.

    “A coerced pregnancy is a violation akin to rape and should be treated as a similar criminal act. ”

    Should be. Is it?

    “As to the Magdalene Laundries, the problem seems to come down to why one would think that [single teenaged mothers] need a [solution] at all. Where exactly other people gain the authority from to imprison them, leaves little old libertarian me scratching my head.”

    The Magdalene Asylums did not start off as a form of imprisonment and I am not exactly convinced there is a great deal of evidence they were ever a form of imprisonment either – although in Ireland some criminals were sent to the Asylums instead of prison. Whether they could walk out or not is another matter.

    As for why the rest of us should have an interest, single Mothers have children. Those children need homes. Single teenage mothers are conspicuously and spectacularly bad at providing a good home by and large. The choices seem to be this or Baby P.

    13 SadButMadLad – “if we made it a crime for mothers to forcibly inseminate their daughters who would we go about enforcing it. It would still be after the fact, and it could still be covered by many other crimes.”

    Is it covered by many other crimes? Which ones? This was emotional manipulation through guilt by the look of it. Not exactly force as would usually be covered by the law.

    “But even if we made it more general, how general would we need to make it before it starts encroaching on other existing crimes.”

    I do not see what is wrong with asking people to check ages before they inseminate someone, which in turn would probably require that it take place in a licenced clinic.

    “But the end result of a baby being born to a teenager is not any different to the many other cases of teenagers having babies at 13,14,15, or 16.”

    Which probably ought to also be regulated out of existence.

  16. SMFS-

    No. The criminal law and regulation are very different things.

    Whether they could walk out or not is another matter.

    Eh? Whether you can walk out or not is the matter and defines a prison. That still holds even when progressives and statist conservatives try to pretend that somebody imprisoned “for their own good” is not actually imprisoned but being “helped”.

    If there’s a lock on the door, and somebody else has the key to it, you’re in prison.

  17. Also, this-

    As for why the rest of us should have an interest, single Mothers have children. Those children need homes. Single teenage mothers are conspicuously and spectacularly bad at providing a good home by and large. The choices seem to be this or Baby P.

    So, basically one case so extreme that it caused a national furore is held as representative of the entire class of mothers below the age of [insert preferred arbitrary number here]. This is pretty much the classic logic of the statist.

    Especially ironic as Baby P’s mother was not a teenager, and the man of the house was the murderer.

  18. Surreptitious Evil

    “But the end result of a baby being born to a teenager is not any different to the many other cases of teenagers having babies at 13,14,15, or 16.”

    Which probably ought to also be regulated out of existence.

    Oh, go on. HTFF do you expect to ‘regulate’ teenagers having a quickie and knowing shag-all (or not giving a flying fuck) about contraception?

    It’s never happened successfully and it never will. Not even in the most paternalistic controlling statist monstrosity.

    We need to state under what circumstances a crime has been committed and act on the results rather than ‘regulate’. Whatever horrors that might involve.

    Ed notes: Those puns weren’t, quite, deliberate, but I apologise for them. He won’t!

  19. @SMfS

    But they would have to be pretty drunk not to notice something is wrong with a ranting nut case American who wants them to knock up her 14 year old adopted daughter.

    …………………………………………………..

    All I can say is you must have led a remarkably sheltered life if you can’t think of half a dozen ways of obtaining a viable sperm sample from an unwitting donor.

  20. What regulation is even needed in the much-vaunted Common Law jurisdiction of England and Wales?

    When law evolves by judicial decision over the space of a thousand years it can come into serious problems when technology and society change so fast. By my reckoning you could now have up to seven legal parents – say a sperm-donor biological father, an egg-donor biological mother, implanted into a surrogate mother, handed over to two married (or civilly-partnered) functional parents from whom the child is taken into care and then adopted by a different married (or civilly-partnered) couple. So who has what rights and responsibilities is anyone’s guess. And who has to pay for what would get dragged through the courts for years with more spent on legal fees than ever gets spent on the poor implanted and fertilised zygote that never asked to be there in the first place.

    If ever there was one, this is a situation absolutely crying for parliament to tear up case law and introduce some kind of sense via the statute book, but no doubt well down the list of priorities.

  21. I suppose that could rise to thirteen legal parents once we get around to recognising Islamic marital practises.

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