Kathleen Gilbert

‘Get over it’: children of anonymous sperm donors met with hostility, ridicule, say activists

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert

June 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For children of anonymous sperm donors yearning for a connection to their biological father, the world can be an unwelcome place.

Instead of meeting compassion, many say that society treats their pain with a dismissive or even hostile attitude - a rift caused by lack of awareness as much as by the brute force of a $3.3 billion industry.

Alana, the child of a sperm donor and the activist behind AnonymousUs.org, says she realized the hard way what she was up against when she began her awareness campaign.

“I thought it would be so easy to arrive, state the obvious that children need their fathers, and everyone would be like, oh my God, thank you for reminding us!” she said in the documentary “Anonymous Father’s Day.” “But there is a huge monster of money and people desperate for children, who don’t want me to make it harder for them to buy and sell children.”

She said that she has often met with ridicule and vitriol from people who tell her to “just go the beach and get a puppy and run around and have fun, and just get over it,” and even recounted the horrifying words directed at a colleague, who was told, “too bad you weren’t the load your Dad flushed down the toilet.”

“People are extremely vicious,” she said.

Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Children and Families at the Institute for American Values, who authored a study on the subject, said that most children begin to ask who their father is at “about age three.”

People are normally encouraged to “share, if we have them, stories of loss or confusion” about our families, Marquardt noted, “but these people somehow are just supposed to be grateful to exist.”

Documentary creator Jennifer Lahl, who was also behind the film “Eggsploitation” on the practice of egg donation, told LifeSiteNews.com that she has also noticed peculiar hostility to those most victimized by the commoditization of children.

“Just from the work that I’ve been doing ... there’s a lot more sympathy toward [exploited] egg donors than towards donor-conceived children,” Lahl told LifeSiteNews.com at a screening of the latest documentary in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

“When I show ‘Eggsploitation,’ there’s an overwhelming, oh my gosh this is horrible, we shouldn’t do this to young women,” she said, “versus, when I show ‘Anonymous Father’s Day,’ it’s like, well, so what? We’ve all had bad upbringing experiences.” Lahl said the reactions of egg-donor children are harder to track because she said most “are never told” of their origins.

Another hurdle, according to Alana - a women’s studies major who says she was inappropriately ridiculed as a Christian extremist because of her advocacy - is the gay and lesbian community, who see sperm donation as “the cleanest method for them to have children.” Another major demographic, she said, was “older couples with money.”

“The fact that they’re willing to spend $100,000 for a kid is—money talks, and I can’t compete with that,” she said.

Lahl said she was hopeful that the LGBT community would be won over to oppose sperm donation once they heard the stories of children conceived in this way. “If we can educate gay men on the harms of fertility drugs, on the harms of these procedures to the women that they need, and the reality of the children’s needs and children’s right to know, then I’m hopeful that we’ll win them over,” she said.

Statistics from 1988, the latest official numbers available, placed sperm donor births at 30-60,000 per year in the United States. However, as records are in many places now minimal to nonexistent - sperm donors can even be found on Craigslist - the true number has become virtually impossible to track.

Barry Stevens, one of 500-1,000 half-siblings fathered by a fertility clinic owner in the U.K., said that many object by saying that people shouldn’t question how they were conceived because they wouldn’t otherwise exist.

“If that were true, then anyone who is the product of a rape would have to endorse rape,” he said. “It’s quite possible to be grateful for your life and question aspects of your conception.”

Stevens said he learned of his origin when he was 18, after his stepfather died suddenly in an accident.

“I’m one of the first produced by science, and not sex. There was no sexual act that produced me, except masturbation,” he said.

Stevens illustrated the “genealogical bewilderment” suffered by those like him by describing a scenario in which a couple gives birth at a hospital and asks to see their baby a few hours later.

“The nurse says, OK, we’ll bring you a baby. And the father says, well, of course, we want to see our baby.” The nurse responds, “Oh well, we don’t do that in this hospital. Don’t worry, everybody who comes here is very healthy, very intelligent, we’ll bring you just a random baby, but it will be perfectly healthy and it’ll love you and you will love it, everything will be fine. What could be wrong with that?

“And of course, there is something wrong with that,” he said.

“If it’s so important in that situation, why is it so hard to understand that it might be a little bit important to us?”

Click here for more information on Anonymous Father’s Day.

Click here for more information on Eggsploitation.

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John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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