As of April 1, it will be legal for single women in Sweden to receive assisted reproduction. On January 13, 2016, the Swedish parliament accepted a government bill to give single women the right to assisted reproduction. This is, in many ways, a historical day since the Swedish state will give single women the same opportunity to become parents as married couples and registered partners.
Out of the 349 members in the Swedish parliament, 218 voted yes, 40 opposed the bill, and 13 abstained their votes. Of the eight parliament parties, the Swedish Democrats and the Christian Democrats opposed the law. Since 2005, the Swedish state has allowed lesbian couples to receive assisted reproduction and gay couples to adopt. Many have been arguing that Sweden -as one of the world’s leading countries concerning gender equality and minority rights- should allow single women to undergo artificial insemination as well. The Centre party, the Liberals, and the Moderates advocate for single women to have access to artificial insemination.
“We are convinced that people’s fitness to be parents is not determined by whether one lived in a committed relationship or not”
“We think there should not be a judicial differentiation between families made up of one or two parents the way it is done today”
In an interview with the Swedish Radio in 2015, the current Minister of Justice, Morgan Johansson, expressed support to change the law. He argues that single mothers going abroad to receive reproduction assistance should now be able to get this treatment in Sweden.
Many oppose this law and argue that a child has the right to his or her parents. The presence of both parents is important for a child, but with this law, a child will lose a father.
“We need more fathers in children’s lives, not fewer”
Until now, single Swedish women have been forced to go abroad to receive fertility treatments. The group Femmis, a Swedish support group advocating for single women’s rights to fertility treatment, told Swedish media that this law serves to recognize all the children in Sweden born as a result of assisted reproduction as well as all the single mothers who bore children through fertility treatment as part of society. Femmis argues that this is important in creating a more tolerant and equal society.
As of April 1, 1,500 – 2,000 single women will be able to to receive fertility treatment. These mothers will be offered the same 480 days of parental leave and state-funded day care as every other married couple and registered partners.
What do you think: Do you believe assisted reproduction for single women is important to a more equal and tolerant society? Do you believe a single mother can be as good a parent as traditional couples?