BREAKING NEWS: Parliament votes to allow fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples
Decision comes after years of delays
Parliament voted on Friday in favour of a government bill to allow single women and lesbian couples to continue to have fertility treatment. The vote in Parliament was 105 to 83 in favour of the proposal. The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament had endorsed a more restrictive version, which would have restricted treatment to couples comprising a man and a woman.
Parliamentary debate on the issue brought demonstrators and police barricades to the front of the House of Parliament on Thursday. On one side, demonstrators representing conservative Christian groups held prayers and defended a child's "right to have a father". On the other, rainbow-coloured banners were carried by those supporting the right of lesbian couples to get fertility treatment.
The battle between the opposing demonstrators remained on the verbal level on Thursday, with one side proclaiming eternal damnation and the possibility of redemption, and the other emphasising human rights and the importance of loving a child.
Friday's vote came after years of delays. Inside the Parliament, debate on Thursday focused on who would be entitled to fertility treatment.
In spite of the contentiousness of the issue, the tone of the debate in Parliament was quite calm, with only a few speeches reaching a fever pitch, as most MPS are known to have made up their minds already.
The bill still requires the approval of the Parliament's Grand Committee, which is considered likely to come. The Grand Committee will vote on the measure on Wednesday next week.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Government would permit fertility treatment for single and lesbian women (10.2.2006)
Bill on fertility treatment to go before Parliament (26.1.2005)
Bill on fertility treatment to reach Parliament in autumn (20.2.2004
Government withdraws bill on fertility treatment (10.2.2003)
Government to intervene in dispute over fertility treatment for single women (6.2.2003)
Bill on fertility treatments moves to full Parliament (5.2.2003)
Bill would ban fertility treatments for single women and lesbian couples (4.2.2003)