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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- As it is unlikely that the Parliament will in the very near future deal with matrimonial causes again I should like to raise a matter which may seem to be a little out of place in point of time. I hope that the AttorneyGeneral will forgive me if he thinks so, but this seems to me to be the appropriate time to raise my point. The relevant part of clause 20 reads -

Subject to this Act, a marriage that takes place after the commencement of this Act, not being a marriage that is void, is voidable, where, at the time of the marriage -

(d)   the wife is pregnant by a person other than the husband.

What is to be the position where a woman is pregnant by means of artificial insemination? That is a practice which is developing, and it involves great matters of morality and great issues of ethics. I ask the Attorney-General: If a woman, without the consent of her husband, is artificially inseminated and is pregnant, would the ground that I have mentioned in clause 20 impinge on such a case, and, broadly, what is the juridical position in this regard at the moment? It may be though that my question is anachronistic, but I think it has a measure of relevance and I hope that the Attorney-General will understand the mood which prompts the question.

Mr Beazley - Before the Minister proceeds to answer that question, would he answer the question regarding the definition of " unsound mind "?

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