Gammy’s story has shocked the world and inspired solidarity for the baby’s cause. His natural parents gave him up but kept his “perfect” female twin. Mgr. Cozzoli condemned the couple’s “shameful act”
vatican insider staff
Little Gammy, now six months old, was abandoned at birth by an Australian couple who had paid a surrogate mother $15,000 to have their child. The reason they abandoned him was that he has Down’s Syndrome. For his adoptive parents this was good enough reason to let the little boy fend for himself, taking his twin sister into their family.
The news has sparked outrage on websites and social networks, partly because Gammy was diagnosed with a serious heart condition which he could die from if he is not treated soon. He was also admitted to hospital just hours ago because of a lung infection. The child’s natural mother, a 21-year-old Thai woman who already has two children and comes from a poor area of Bangkok cannot afford to pay for the care he needs. Thai newspaper Thai Rath which broke the news, has launched ‘Hope for Gammy’, a solidarity campaign which has already collected €100,000, two thirds of which will go towards the cost of his operation.
“The child may not make it,” his surrogate mother said, “he has a very serious infection.” “But I will take care of him, I will not leave him,” Pattaramon Chanbua said as she spoke to Thai media, tears streaming down her face. She added that she did not expect such a consistent flow of donations. According to reports by some Australian media, when the surrogate mother was four months pregnant and the natural parents discovered that one of the two twins had Down’s Syndrome, they asked her to have an abortion but being a Buddhist, she refused.
Naturally social networks are abuzz with the news which has spread mainly thanks to the #Gammy parents hashtag. The world has used this hashtag to express its indignation toward the Australian couple’s behaviour. “Shame” and “disgust” are the words most commonly used to describe the way people feel about it. Many say the couple should not have been allowed to keep the other twin the surrogate mother gave birth to.
“Leaving the surrogate mother to look after the sick child on her own and running off with the healthy baby is selfish and inhumane. It is discriminatory and shameful,” Mgr. Mauro Cozzoli – a theologian at the Pontifical Lateran University and a bioethics expert – told ANSA. Forcing the surrogate mother “to keep the “imperfect” baby and allowing the paying couple to take the healthy one is immoral,” the theologian said. Mgr. Cozzoli added that little Gammy’s case “is emblematic of the eugenic and commercial degeneration of the way humans create and give birth to human life. People no longer resort to assisted procreation because of infertility problems. They resort to it to guarantee quality offspring.”
Two days ago Barack Obama moved the world to tears when he interrupted his speech at the Special Olympics to embrace an athlete with Downs’ Syndrome. After greeting the other guests, President Obama asked Tim Harris to give him a hug and said: “You know, presidents need some encouragement once and a while too.”
There are currently around 400 Australian couples expecting a child from a Thai surrogate mother but both the Thai and Australian governments announced that they want to review the procedure in light of this story.
“I would like to tell Thai women – don’t get into this business as a surrogate. Don’t just think only for money … if something goes wrong no one will help us and the baby will be abandoned from society, then we have to take responsibility for that,” Gammy’s surrogate mother said