John Hayward Posted: 3 June 2008
Keywords: Sex & Families,
The Government is amazingly inconsistent. One month it condemns a whole class of children to fatherlessness. The next it reveals, "Change to birth laws means an end to 'fatherless' children" (today's Times). In future, all fathers will be required to sign their baby's birth certificate under a change in the law designed to ensure that both parents are involved in a child's life. This is already the case with married women. The new law will extend this to unmarried women, except where this is "impossible, impractical or unreasonable" (for instance where the father’s identify is unknown or the woman is a victim of abuse). Of course, merely having a name on a piece of paper is not going to guarantee that a child has a positive male role model in their lives. Yet, thanks to the recent Commons vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, children born to unmarried women in a civil partnership who undergo IVF treatment will become almost the only people in society unable to identify anybody as their father.
Seems to me like a few of the MPs who voted against the child's need for a father as well as a mother to be considered when considering the welfare of children born as a result of fertility treatment should reflect on the words of the Work and Pensions Secretary quoted in today's news: "Registering a child's birth isn't just a legal requirement, it's a lifetime commitment by both parents to safeguard their child's development, health and welfare, and provide them with direction and guidance throughout childhood."