Should sex offenders be allowed to have children?
The moral answer to that question is a tough one – and no doubt there will be as many opinions as there are people in the world. But practically, the answer is simply: yes. There are no legal restrictions on who can have a baby.
But what if that same sex offender requires access to IVF in order to conceive?
Suddenly, that’s a whole other can of
A convicted sex offender is currently fighting his way through the Victorian courts, in an effort to be allowed to access IVF.
The 34-year-old man (who is referred to as ABY for legal reasons) was convicted in 2009 of having sex with a teenage girl who was 16 at the time and under his care, during a period when he worked as a teacher’s aide.
ABY was jailed for three years, with two years suspended. And now he wants to have a baby with his wife.
The Herald Sun reports:
In a landmark ruling… the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal cleared the way for the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to gain access to the expensive fertility treatment.
This was despite bans on serious criminals gaining access to IVF.
But the Patient Review Panel (an independent body) has appealed and today sought to overturn the ruling in the Supreme Court.
When Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal initially overturned the ban last year, they concluded that there was no evidence ABY would be likely to sexually offended against his own child. The Tribunal also said that ABY has served his sentence and should not be punished again for the same offense.
But the Patient Review Panel – who initially rejected the couple’s application to access IVF – have responded, arguing that any legal decision must be based on the wellbeing of the potential child, rather than ABY’s risk of re-offending.
More from The Herald Sun:
Kerri Judd, SC, for the Patient Review Panel… argued VCAT applied the wrong test in determining the man’s suitability for treatment. Ms Judd submitted VCAT had focused on the man’s risk of reoffending, instead of the best interest’s of the unborn child.
“What we want is for the correct test to be applied,” she said. “Whatever test is formulated the focus needs to be on the interest of the child…. It has to be a test the focuses on the welfare of the child,” she said.
Ms Judd said the matter should be reheard by VCAT.
In a report for 7:30, the ABC spoke to the couple who are trying to conceive in the days leading up to the hearing.
ABY’s wife argued that “everyone deserves a second chance”.
ABY himself said that: “It was wrong… I could apologise all day long everyday, and I know how wrong it was but there’s nothing I can do to change that now.”
When asked why he slept with a young student, ABY said: “It’s just a hard question to answer. Even to this day it’s something that plagues me. I ask myself the question ‘why, why, why?’ and it just comes down to pure stupidity and not thinking about consequences.”
ABY’s wife ended the report by asking why the couple were being denied the right to have children, when, if they had been able to conceive naturally, they would not have faced any such barrier.
“Any person who can conceive a child naturally can and do and there are people with sexual offense and murder charges that have children. And more than one child. Why do they have children… and we can’t?” she said.
Should a convicted sex offender be restricted from accessing fertility treatment, like IVF?