In 2014, LifeNews reported on twin baby Gammy who was abandoned by his biological parents after their surrogate refused abortion. Baby Gammy was born with Down syndrome to Thailand surrogate, Pattamaron Chanbua. After the birth, his parents, David and Wendy Farnell, fled to Australia with his healthy sister; and in August they took to Australia’s “60 Minutes” to defend their decision to abandon their son.
David Farnell, who’s a convicted sex-offender, said that he demanded a refund on his surrogacy fees and would have aborted the baby had he known earlier that his baby had Down syndrome. However, he denies that he ever told Chanbua to have an abortion when she was pregnant with Gammy. Farnell also claimed that his baby girl Pipah is safe with him despite his past as a sex offender.
He said, “I am not going to harm my little girl. She [Pipah] will be 100 per cent safe because I know I will do everything in the world to protect my little girl. I have no inclinations … They have 100 per cent stopped. I don’t have this urge to do anything anymore.”
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If Chanbua had chosen abortion, Gammy would have been one of the countless babies with Down syndrome who die before they even take their first breath. In fact, some studies show that over 90% of women who receive the prenatal diagnosis that their child will have the condition chooses abortion. Thankfully, Chanbua chose life, and in December 2014, Gammy turned one. Thankfully, Gammy was also granted Australian citizenship, which will help him receive proper healthcare.
Now, according to ABC News, new documents between the Australian High Commission in New Delhi and Government officials in Canberra reveal that the Farnell’s traveled to India to seek citizenship for a baby girl but told consular staff they would be leaving her twin brother behind because they couldn’t afford him. They said they already had a son at home and wanted to “complete their family” with a girl.
Additionally, Farnell said they would be giving the boy to some friends in India “who were unable to conceive a child”. Obviously, that was a lie and the couple abandoned they boy despite warnings from officials that said doing so would leave him stateless because India did not recognize surrogate children as citizens.
A 2012 email from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) stated, “If the parents do not apply for Australian citizenship for the child, the child will be stateless in India …our ability to provide assistance to a non-Australian citizen is limited.”
Advice sent from DFAT in Canberra to the High Commission in India stated: “While we are concerned at the potential impact of the welfare of the child, this is a matter that needs to be addressed by Indian authorities.”
High Commission staff were then urged to monitor the situation closely.
The documents indicate the abandoned boy is entitled to Australian citizenship, but it is not automatically granted it without it being applied for. By January 14, 2013, a further cable revealed the High Commission’s concern with its own decision making.
An Immigration document would suggest at that time no papers had been seen as officials were still concerned about the risk of the child becoming stateless.
In December 2012 we became aware of a case involving twins born through surrogacy arrangements in India.
We were informed by the parents of the children that they did not wish to take parental responsibility for both children and they intended to transfer responsibility for their male child to a couple of Indian citizenship.
The approach prescribed for cases such as this was to simply discuss them in broad terms with like-minded missions and the Indian authorities.
However the risks involved include that the child becomes stateless and their welfare is compromised.
We are therefore concerned that our approach would leave us exposed to media and parliamentary scrutiny. We are however continuing to monitor this situation closely to ensure that the male child is not left stateless and his welfare is maintained.
DFAT said the boy was formally adopted in India, although no documentation supporting that has been made public.