START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
901,155 people care about Women's Rights

Would Mandatory Paternity Tests Protect Children?

Would Mandatory Paternity Tests Protect Children?

Joe Chisholm has been looking for his daughter for 18 years. Last week, his search finally came to an end when Patricia O’Byrne, the girl’s mother, was arrested and charged with abducting the girl. An arrest warrant was issued for O’Byrne in 1993 and she evaded police for 18 years, having managed to secure new identities for herself and her daughter. Both the mother and daughter had government issued identification in their new names, such as birth certificates and passports, which is raising questions about them being too easy to obtain.

Renewed call for mandatory paternity tests

In light of the O’Byrne case, the Canadian Children’s Rights Council is renewing its call for mandatory paternity tests. They argue that this would ensure both parents are identified immediately, which would help eliminate paternal fraud and identity fraud. Currently, about five percent of birth registrations in Ontario do not have a father listed on the birth certificate. Even when one is listed, the Canadian Children’s Rights Council argues the information isn’t always truthful.

In a segment on the CBC in 2009, Grant Wilson from the Canadian Children’s Rights Council shared his thoughts on the issue. “When a woman has a baby, she knows for sure if she is the mother or not,” Grant argued. The father, however, doesn’t know whether he is the father unless he goes behind the mother’s back to get a paternity test done. Grant positions this as a violation of the rights of both the father and the child.

The Canadian Children’s Rights Council appears to be heavily on the side of men under the guise of the rights of the child. They cite surveys on women’s infidelity and lies from other countries to create a burning platform for their cause. For example, they cite a survey in Scotland where 50% of women said they would lie if they became pregnant by a man other than their partner if they wanted to stay with that partner. They cite another study from the BBC that indicates that one in 24 fathers is not the biological father.

Would mandatory paternity tests unfairly punish women?

Grant argues that under the current system, women know for sure if they are the mother or not, but men don’t. This puts women at an advantage and men at a disadvantage.

If mandatory paternity tests are implemented, the tables will be turned. Women, who get pregnant while having an affair will be “punished” for doing so in all cases. Men, however, who get a woman pregnant while having an affair will only be “punished” for doing so if there is a way to track them down and test them in order to obtain a match. It all sounds way too much like a horrible daytime talk show scenario, complete with screaming and yelling and plenty of drama.

Research on infidelity shows that both men and women are having more affairs than they used to. However, in virtually all surveys on the topic, men are more likely to have extramarital affairs than women are. Mandatory paternity testing would likely result in more women being left to raise a baby on their own, something that is all too prevalent already without paternity testing.

If Grant’s proposal was going to be implemented, perhaps it should come with the option of in utero testing (which can now be done via non-invasive procedure at 12 weeks), so that the woman would still have time to consider her options or make arrangements if she is in fact going to be left alone to raise a baby.

How do we define family?

The paternity issue often comes up in cases where a man discovers that he is not in fact the biological father of the child and wishes to stop paying child support. In Canada, the courts look at both DNA and relationship. In other words, both the biological father and the person acting as the father could be ordered to pay child support payments.

But those cases, and all the assumptions behind Grant’s proposal, assume a situation where a heterosexual couple are in a committed relationship and have decided to bring a child into the world together. In fact, there are numerous scenarios where this may not be the case and where mandatory paternity testing would be inappropriate or undesirable.

  • There are women who are not in a committed relationship, but who want to have a child and may have had male friends assist them in doing so under the condition that they would not be required to “father” the child.
  • There are lesbian couples who use sperm from several different donors during the same cycle so that they do not need to know who the biological father is.
  • Gay men may combine their sperm when using a surrogate, so that they do not know which one is the biological father.
  • Some women get pregnant from rape or an abusive relationship and may choose to keep the baby even though they don’t want anything to do with the man who provided the sperm.
  • In cases of adoption, an amended birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents names on it, effectively making biology irrelevant in terms of responsibility for that child.

And, of course, as I write this the lyrics of Heart’s All I want to do is make love to you are ringing out in my head:

Oh
oooh
we made love
Love like strangers
All night long
We made love

Then it happened one day
we came round the same way
You can imagine his surprise when he saw his own eyes
I said ‘please
please understand
I’m in love with another man
And what he couldn’t give me
was the one little thing you can’

All I wanna do is make love to you
One night of love was all we knew
All I want to do is make love to you
Come on
say you will
you want me too

A complex issue

Ultimately, there are so many different scenarios where it may not make sense to force a paternity test and the consequences of forcing the issue could be much greater than the protection the Canadian Children’s Rights Council purports it would provide to the child.

What do you think? Should paternity testing be mandatory?

 

Related stories

Does the Criminalization of Polygamy Protect Women and Children?

Does Online Flirting Count As Infidelity?

John Edwards Likely Facing Indictment

 

Read more: , , , ,

Image credit: storyvillegirl on flickr

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

290 comments

+ add your own
6:30PM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

me and my exboyfriend concieved our daughter who will be turning 3 years old in october.our relationship wasnt working out during my pregnancy so we agreed to seperate so that i could have a calm pregnancy.i hadnt heard from him in months and avoided him when he tried to contact me.i finally gave birth to our baby girl but acs was there to take her away since i had my older kids in foster care.an old friend of mine had visited me and to meet the baby and knew of acs plans.he came up with a plan so that i wouldnt have to worry about my daughter being lost in the system.we both agreed that since the real father wasnt around that my friend would sign the birth certificate as the father so that he could have my daughter with him instead of a foster home.he promised me verbally that he would raise her like his own until i was able to get her back,once acs was out of my life for good.its been 2 years that shes been with my friend and ive also been in her life,raising her like i should and taking care of all her expenses.i have mentioned to my friend about my plans with my daughter when i get her back and he straight up refuses to let me have her now.i just recently opened a family court case petitioning custody of my daughter.the courts are telling me that they do not have to make my friend do a dna test when i have requested several times to prove that he is not the biological father therefore she should not be with him but with me.the courts have also told me that i could be cha

6:30PM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

me and my exboyfriend concieved our daughter who will be turning 3 years old in october.our relationship wasnt working out during my pregnancy so we agreed to seperate so that i could have a calm pregnancy.i hadnt heard from him in months and avoided him when he tried to contact me.i finally gave birth to our baby girl but acs was there to take her away since i had my older kids in foster care.an old friend of mine had visited me and to meet the baby and knew of acs plans.he came up with a plan so that i wouldnt have to worry about my daughter being lost in the system.we both agreed that since the real father wasnt around that my friend would sign the birth certificate as the father so that he could have my daughter with him instead of a foster home.he promised me verbally that he would raise her like his own until i was able to get her back,once acs was out of my life for good.its been 2 years that shes been with my friend and ive also been in her life,raising her like i should and taking care of all her expenses.i have mentioned to my friend about my plans with my daughter when i get her back and he straight up refuses to let me have her now.i just recently opened a family court case petitioning custody of my daughter.the courts are telling me that they do not have to make my friend do a dna test when i have requested several times to prove that he is not the biological father therefore she should not be with him but with me.the courts have also told me that i could be cha

8:00PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

Annie, I think you need to do better research prior to posting this sort of article.

6:08PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Let me preface this with the fact that I am biased. I was born in a situation where my mother was unsure of who my father was. She kept this a secret my entire life. The man who I thought was my father has been long divorced from my mother. He is a sociopath in the extreme. My mother remarried to a man who wanted me out of the way, and had that wish granted when he made me a ward of the state at age 14. I grew up with no father figure.

I am 45. When I was 43, I was given a name and a law firm and was told that I need to look into who my father actually is. I contacted the law firm and was soon contacted by the man who I would discover is my dad. He had no knowledge of my existence and I am his only son. We are both very upset.

While I understand why this happened, I do not pull back any punches. It is the selfish nature of my mother and the man who literally pretended to be my father who are to be held accountable. I am a life stolen from my father, and myself. We are trying to shore up the damage.

DNA testing has become so inexpensive, and so readily available, there is no reason to keep it from being utilized for every birth born. An average childbirth cost about $10,000. DNA testing costs about $125.

Will mandatory DNA testing spure conversations by expecting parents that did not exist before? Most certainly. Will the result of these conversations be in the best interest of the child? Absolutely.

The child's right to his or her identity supersedes that of t

5:35PM PST on Dec 16, 2011

All these people making decisions: everyone cheating on everyone else, lying about the real father, MIXING SPERM (????), etc....WTF??? PEOPLE, these are HUMAN BEINGS THAT ARE BEING BORN...It seems no one is thinking about THEM and how all of this crap is going to affect THEM. They deserve to know who their parents are! The women who lie to keep a man, are only thinking about themselves. First they had the affair, and then they are trying to trap a man because THEY want them to stay. If the man loves her, he may stay and he may still be the father, what ever that is meant to happen is going to happen. The truth ALWAYS comes out in the end...so if making madatory paternity tests will straighten a few people out, then I say go for it.

4:08PM PST on Dec 15, 2011

Ms. Urban, I also noticed that you used adoption as a reason to not have a paternity test. I don't think you should speak for adoptees because it would actually be helpful to us to have a paternity test. Many of us find our birth mothers only to have them unwilling to tell us what happened and who the father is. Relinquishing a child is extremely traumatic, many adoptions were the results of a dysfunctional situation and birth mothers are treated like dirt so it's understandable that they cannot revisit the trauma. However, it leaves adoptees in a terrible predicatment. The state seals our records so we are in effect left with no ability to find out about our biological roots unless we find a family member willing to break the silence and talk about it. Thus, this testing would be extremely helpful for adoptees.

8:27PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Wow! Ms. Urban, I think you need a bit of education about adoptees. You state that knowing our DNA is unnecessary: "In cases of adoption, an amended birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents names on it, effectively making biology irrelevant in terms of responsibility for that child." That's one of the worst parts of adoption and a painful subject for adoptees. We are the only Americans denied the right to know who our biological parents are by the state. Can you even imagine that? I don't think so or you wouldn't so cavalierly mentioned, much less defended it. Biology is not irrelevant! Why do you think there are so many shows featuring reunions? That's because adoptees move mountains to find out who our parents our - to find out who we are. Please message me and I will send you some educational materials about adoptees and our fight to gain what is rightfully ours - our history.

5:35AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Courtney S. said: "Every child deserves to have both their mom and dad in their lives, there is no reason to keep the child from either parent unless you can prove them unfit in a court of law, that is just how I see it and my opinion."

And fortunately for the kids, that's how the federal Supreme Court sees it, too. :)

These rights are called the "associational rights" of the child, guaranteed by the First Amendment and considered a "fundamental right" -- which means a government unit (federal, state, or local) must meet the very highest standard of urgency in order to limit or interfere with them.

5:28PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Wow...This turned into a huge fight didn't it. I wanted to thank LM S. for the response. Sadly, even if it isn't a federal law that would mean that we would have to take on the state to get the test and the rights etc. that cost a LOT of money and I fear that most of us could not afford to do anything about so the children go on with their lives the best way they can. I don't think that we should make every child born have a DNA test, but I do think they should be easier to get and less expensive, or at least there should be payment plans for the people that can't afford them in one large sum. Every child deserves to have both their mom and dad in their lives, there is no reason to keep the child from either parent unless you can prove them unfit in a court of law, that is just how I see it and my opinion.

5:22PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

"Truthful?" Truth is desired? Unfortunately the focus is on the man as victim in the one case mentioned in the article above. More apt in this day are men who desire women to spread their legs and even when asked to wear a condom they don't like to wear will put it on and then - while in delecto - remove it easily during coitus - and ejaculate inside a woman when he orally "contracted" to wear one if she participated in intercourse. Once impregnated, the female is required - by Societal Stressors - to carry the child to birth and if having the idea to not abort the baby - may then believe in raising the child she's carried for 9 months. What's so oddly "Non-Christian" of this - if abortion is so strenuously debased and frowned upon - is that Society, unapproving of abortion would then deny her and her child support. The male - whomever he should be - knowingly or unknowingly - goes on with his life able to partake of higher schooling or corporate advancement as he will unencumbered. The mother and child are left wards of the State and even if the father is known - legal recourse, forcing the male to take a DNA test - is unavialable to her and the child. With other situations - Lesbian, Gay, Adultery, etc,...there is more of a legal basis as some, if not most, are actually contractual initially - if not implied nascently in the Act itself. (Sorry guys, trusting fools you seem to be, if you have an affair and don't want children - it's usually intelligent to take on responsibil

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

I want to see ads for fossil fuels considered too controversial.

Of course it leads to Cancer! We're not meant to be going around and blowing the tops off mountains:(…

India is, of course, the birthplace of philosophy -- forward thinking and enlightened steps here. Ku…

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.