Parenthood and Alternative Parenthood
Irit Rosenblum was the first to articulate the right to parenthood. She offers an original socio-legal perspective in which every individual’s right to establish a family and exercise equal rights within it regardless of religion, nationality, sexual orientation and legal status must be acknowledged as a human right and protected as a critical aspect of a free society. She established New Family in 1998 to transform Israel’s legal and social conventions to actualize this philosophy of human rights for family life.
While changes in the structure of family have revolutionized the face of the family in Israel and around the world, the law has not kept up. The emergence of common-law, single-parent, interfaith, bi-national, and same-sex families have challenged the law to allow people to live in dignity and equality. Religious authorities maintain exclusive jurisdiction over family life and personal status in Israel, and there is no protection of human rights in the family befitting a diverse, democratic society.
To attain the rights for every individual in Israel to establish a family, Irit Rosenblum cultivated a new realm of medical, legal and social possibilities by advocating use of technologies such as in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogacy, freezing ova, and posthumous sperm retrieval by those who otherwise can’t have children. By generating systemic legal changes, raising public consciousness and changing attitudes, she opened doors for people to utilize these technologies to have children in ways that were inconceivable and legally impossible a decade ago.
Today in Israel, a person can become a parent naturally or assisted, through natural conception, adoption, artificial insemination, IVF, freezing eggs, or surrogacy. You can raise your child within a marriage, a common-law partnership, as a single parent, or within a shared parenting arrangement. No matter how your child came into the world, and how to choose to raise him or her, parenthood awards the parents with the same obligations and rights.
Parenthood bestows us with rights and obligations that we did not have before. By law, a parent is the natural guardian of his or her children and has the right and the duty to raise them, educate them, fulfill their physical and emotional needs, protect their interests and nurture their talents and aspirations.