Friday, November 23, 2007

Nanny State

Rather frightening story from the BBC about a woman who got pregnant and decided - not as many in her situation quite understandably would, to abort - but to have the child and put it straight up for adoption. Now the local authorities have asked a court to over-rule the woman's own wishes and seek out the woman's parents and the man who got her pregnant and see if they want to keep the child. The court have quite rightly said no.

Now firstly when was it ever permissible to go over a 20-year-old woman's head and talk to her parents without her permission? Never. She's a responsible adult and she's entitled to make her own decisions.

Secondly if the father of this child had been around at all in the last nine months he would probably have known the woman in question was pregnant. There are tell-tale signs like having a big bulging lump on the front of her body. So my initial suspicion is that he may not be the most responsible type. But of course we don't know if the woman was in fact avoiding him, and if she was why she was avoiding him.*

The question is - were the local authorities intending to suggest he raise the child himself as a lone parent or did they want him to help them load pressure on the mother to raise it herself? There are lone fathers in the UK and I'm all in favour of encouraging men to feel that they can take on the job of parenting either alone or as the main carer in a larger family. If the guy were suitable and willing to take on such a role though, wouldn't the mother have noticed?

Instead we are looking at a local authority too lazy to go out and find a suitable adoptive family for a needy child, instead loading pressure on a woman trying to do the right thing to keep a child she doesn't feel able to raise.

*And in a country with a 5% conviction rate for rape, we actually cannot assume he didn't rape her, in which case he definitely has no right to see the child.

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