Recently children of all ages and from all sorts of families celebrated Mother’s Day in Sweden. Some children have two mothers, some have one. Many also have a father. But what they all have in common is that they were all born or have been adopted by at least one woman.
At the same time, there are many women who would like nothing more than to be honoured on Mother’s Day, but won’t get the chance. These women are those who are unwillingly childless, some of whom are in relationships and some of whom are single.
In 2005, Sweden finally took a step forward and allowed artificial insemination for lesbian couples. But so far, despite a majority in the Riksdag, single women are not allowed to be artificially inseminated in Sweden.
How can this be so?
Does Sweden simply have a completely conservative political class which neither dares nor wants to see how society actually looks? Our neighbours like Denmark, Finland, Latvia, England, Belgium, and others have a completely different interpretation of what modern family policy entails and allow single women to be artificially inseminated.
We see today a wide array of family constellations and there isn’t any research which shows that it would be in any way harmful for children. It is often our own preconceptions, influenced by our upbringing and culture, among other things, which set limits for child and family policy, and not what is actually best for children.
The Swedish association for single mothers by choice through insemination/IVF, Femmis (Frivilligt Ensamstående Mammor med Insemination/IVF), and the Green Party believe that single women should have the right to artificial insemination in Sweden.
Obviously, it’s not a human right to have children. However, it is a human right to not be discriminated against when it comes to children on account of one’s civil status.
The most important thing for children is that they are surrounded by loving adults. A stable and secure family situation is affected neither by the number of adults in the family nor by their gender or sexual orientation.
The Christian Democrats and their traditional views about what a family is and what it ought to include are a huge roadblock. Their view is a far cry from reality. Irrespective of what the Christian Democrats think, hundreds of Swedish women are artificially inseminated in other countries. The practice brings with it high costs for the individual, enormous insecurity, as well as a sizeable social strain due to the fact that the women are actually doing something that is illegal in Sweden.
The Centre Party and Liberal Party have made positive pronouncements about an amendment to the law, while the Moderates are cautiously supportive. So why not act now and consent to some of those bills which have been put forward in the Riksdag over the years?
It would be the best of presents for many of those unwillingly childless women and for the others who believe that it’s high time for Sweden to embrace more modern legislation on artificial insemination.
By Gunvor G. Ericson, Green Party Riksdag member, and Maria Gudmundsson, Chair of Femmis