Right’s right, right?

A single woman living in the United Kingdom at taxpayers’ expense has delivered a baby who was conceived through IVF paid for by taxpayers. I wish the baby well. I wish its mother either paid employment or a substantial surprise legacy from a long-forgotten distant relative so that she may relieve me of the compulsion to pay for her fertility treatment, her maintenance and that of her child – or children, if she intends to have more.

Is this is legitimate use of the taxpayers’ money?

Musing on the many questions prompted by this incident in the light or perhaps the shadow of the UK Human Rights Act, I wonder whether any publicly-funded medical authority in the United Kingdom would lightly refuse a similar request from a woman with no visible means of supporting herself.

Or would they be ‘non-judgmental’ and accede on the grounds of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘diversity’ or pehaps simply fearing that a refusal would send her scurrying off to m’learned friends who, before you could say ‘scalpel and forceps’, would allege egregious victimisation of their client to their lordships on the bench?

Would their lordships then have declared that state-funded IVF (and of course the consequent and non-trivial ongoing cost-burden to the appellant’s fellow-citizens, or at least those paying tax) must be provided, being intrinsic to the ‘right to family life’ guaranteed, like so many abuses of the enraged, disenfranchised, abused and utterly irrelevant  upright citizen, by the European Convention on Human Rights to which the UK is bound by the Human Right Act.

If Harriet Harman QC and/or Helena Kennedy QC should be reading this, perhaps they would be kind enough to give us their opinion — on a pro bono basis, of course. While we await their learned opinions, maybe others can advise?

 

 

 

 

 

13 comments for “Right’s right, right?

  1. July 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I’ve often wondered who gets dragged to court by someone who is naturally and fundamentally infertile, but who is still demanding the right to a family life. I’ve said it many times, and I’m sure I’m not the only one – children are not a right, they are a privilege.

    • Paul
      July 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Exactly. In my case, I’ll never be able to drive due to my eyesight. I was obsessed with cars and driving when I was young but I just deal with it. I would never, ever consider it a right that I be able to drive – these things are available for those that have the prerequisite skills. Other people have different skills. It’s no big deal.

      Some things just aren’t meant to happen. For some women, not being able to get pregnant is one of them. Ye never know, some of those women might see it as an advantage if you get what I’m saying. 😉

  2. Maaarrghk!
    July 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Following the link to the daily wail article, it states that the local health authority originally refused to give her fertilty treatment, but backed down after she THREATENED to use human rights legislation.

    Sounds like someone decided they were not up for a fight, but at least it seems like no actual legal precedent has been set.

    • PT
      July 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Yes, they would back down from such a legal confrontation. Why risk the stress and possibly unwelcome publicity of challenging this freeloader, when it’s only other people’s money that’s at stake?

  3. Monty
    July 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    The NHS should draw the line at funding procedures which are not aimed at treating illnesses or injuries. Infertility is not an illness, and neither is pregnancy (unless it presents a threat to the physical health of the mother).

    It is no longer possible to open the door for a few unfortunate deserving cases, because all the scroungers pile in as well. The only way to sort that out is to apply objective clinical criteria, and stick to them.
    Maybe then, we would be able to shut out the greedy, the irresponsible, and the scroungers, so we can apply our resources to those in genuine need.

    • bnzss
      July 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Aye, it seems there is no real distinction between elective and non-elective treatment. You’d think that a publicly funded healthcare system which caters towards those who can least afford it would be heavily skewed towards non-elective treatment, since that is what can’t be easily avoided…

  4. fake
    July 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Excuse me one second

    (walks into room, locks door, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKK).

    Apologies everyone.

    But my partner of 33 has been refused IVF on the NHS, on the grounds that there is a 2 year waiting list, and that she will be 35 when she gets it.

    And so to old, as they stop giving it to anyone over the age of 35 (so we were told), also our area only gets 1 instead of the usual 3 free treatments.

    Despite the fact that she has had the condition that caused her infertility miss diagnosed for several years (yes, if they hadn’t continually fucked up we would not have the age issue and therefore NHS treatment).

    ***Ye never know, some of those women might see it as an advantage if you get what I’m saying. ;)***

    I know it’s a joke, ok, but…….

    My partner spent several months crying herself to sleep, and still gets bouts of the blues because of it over a year later.

    **The NHS should draw the line at funding procedures which are not aimed at treating illnesses or injuries. **

    I would agree, but at the same time had no problem applying for it (Cus they have no problem taxing me for it).

    I’m of the opinion that they should either do it, or not do it, and not any in-between “means testing”, no one should be deciding if someone is “allowed” to have a child or not.

    • July 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Have you tried using the human rights act?

    • July 7, 2011 at 5:24 am

      I had almost exactly the same experience. Like you, the NHS not only missed the problem in Mrs SAOT’s case, they then declined to fund any IVF. So off I trotted to the bank and ponied up myself. Okay, morally I should not ask anyone else to pay for my own medical or familial preferences. That said, when I hear that I’m funding prisoners who are heroin addicts for IVF in Scotland, I don’t exactly jump for joy.

      The IVF was not successful, but to end on a happy note, random nature was (after years of not coming to the party) and young master SAOT just celebrated his second birthday. I know how I used to feel when people told me stories like this, kinda “shut the **** up” but life can be very surprising on times. Good luck.

    • July 7, 2011 at 5:47 am

      “Excuse me one second

      (walks into room, locks door, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKK).

      Apologies everyone.”

      No apology needed. It’s the natural reaction to a story like this, and serves to point you out as someone who isn’t (yet) entirely mad… 😉

    • Lord T
      July 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Sue them. That should pay for private IVF plus the running costs for the minature unit for a few years. Hell, they may even give in on the IVF as well.

  5. Paul
    July 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    fake: My partner spent several months crying herself to sleep, and still gets bouts of the blues because of it over a year later.

    I’m sorry to hear that. 🙁

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