Sunday, June 24, 2007


I found this article most interesting. The title of it is what caught my eye. Someone gets somewhere. Too bad the United States doesn't.
Friday, 22 Jun 2007 12:20

The Government propose to require mothers to name fathers on a birth certificate. Until now, mothers have been able to leave the father's name on a birth certificate blank. This proposal has provoked a quite predictable controversy. One detail has escaped much attention, however, if the father is a rapist, or has been violent towards the mother, then the mother will not be forced to name him. This detail reveals the fundamental flaw in the whole debate: that it focuses upon the mother instead of on the child. The person who benefits from - and owns - a birth certificate is the child, not either of the parents, named or unnamed. To want to know the identity of your closest relatives in the world - your biological parents - is part of human nature, and there can be very few people who wish to be ignorant about the identity of their father. The idea that anybody, even one's mother, should be allowed for reasons of her own to prevent one from knowing who their father was, must surely infringe a child's human right to a family life. Besides, who is to decide the list of crimes on the basis of which the mother will be allowed to conceal the father's identity from the child? Why is it just rapists and wife-beaters whose children will not know their father? What about the children of mass-murderers, armed robbers, paedophiles, drug-dealers, drunken drivers, or terrorists? It seems odd that if a father has a conviction for slapping his wife once, then his child may never know him, but if the father has a conviction for war crimes which resulted in the deaths of thousands, then that is OK. If the motive behind the idea is in fact merely to protect the child from harm, by hindering contact with a violent natural parent, then surely a woman who has convictions for murder or child-abuse should have her name omitted from the child's birth certificate as well? It is clear that allowing any person to prevent their child from knowing their ancestry, simply because one parent disapproves of the other's behavior, is impossible to implement fairly or sensibly. Children should have a fundamental right to know who their ancestors are. The Government needs to realise that a birth certificate is the property of the child, not of the mother. ENDS NOTE TO EDITORS 1. The Equal Parenting Alliance is a new UK political party, formed in February 2006. We aim to promote a system of family justice in the UK that puts the needs and interests of children first. 2. We fought seats in the recent Scottish parliamentary elections and the English local government elections. We intend to put up a large number of seats in next years local elections and the general election. 3. We think the family justice system should respect the right of children to normal parenting by their two parents above the rights or wishes of either of their parents alone. The current system does not do this. To give the most obvious illustration of this; it allows one parent to easily eliminate the other parent from a child’s life, if they wish. We believe this is fundamentally wrong and bad for children.

1 comment:

iris eyes said...

Historically speaking, many USA mothers were not allowed to place the fathers name on the birth certificate, if they were unmarried.

some states, for example California, did not consider a child of unmarried parents to even have a legal father.So, even if the mother named the father, he would not be named on the OBC.

This changed with the 1973 Stanley vs Illinois US Supreme court paternity rights case.

Another development that changed paternity issues, was the invention of DNA testing, around 1969. I am not sure just when this began to be used routinely in paternity cases, but before 1969, there was no way to prove who the father was, biologically.A mother could name the father, but all he had to do was deny it.

The issue of rapists is a very sticky one. If the rapist is named on the birth certificate, and if the mother is unable to prove rape, then the rapist would be able to fight for custody of the child.

although I believe that children have a right to know who their parents are, I do not believe that rapists have a right to custody.And rape is still a very hard crime to prove, even today...maybe especially today.