I was absolutely shocked to hear on the radio about a court case that went before the family courts yesterday which involved the fate of a baby boy, born of a one night stand relationship.
A woman had a fling with a work colleague, became pregnant, concealed the pregnancy from the father (so he knows nothing of the child), and has now put the child up for adoption. The issue before the court was should she be allowed to do this without the father having a say, or for that matter even being told that he is a father.
The courts decided that the father has no right to know about the child, has no right to bring up the child, his family have no right to know that they have a nephew, a grandson or a cousin, and in short, the father has absolutely no rights under the law.
This, to me, is an astonishing situation. If the situation were altered slightly in that the mother wanted to keep the child and she wanted to claim benefits, the government agency who have taken over the role of the Child Support Agency would be telling this man he was the father and making him pay maintenance. In this case, he has a responsibility, but in reality, as has been shown, he has no rights.
I remember a few years ago Bob Geldof raising the issue of fathers rights, and at the time he was given short shrift. But the case before the courts yesterday made a decision, according to the radio report, to preserve the anonymity of the mother, because if the father knew about the adoption and the baby, it would affect her job. I thought the law was there to protect the child, not the mother ? In know a balance is required, but in this case the child has no chance of being brought up by his real parents or family, the court said the mother retains the ultimate right never to divulge the father's name to the child, even if in the future the child contacts his real mother, and again, the father loses out.
This monstrous decision has been all about one person, the mother, and not the child or the father. It says much about our laws that the lawyer interviewed kept making the point in a matter of fact way to the interviewer that "the father has no rights". She said it, as a legal terms, but she failed to get the non legal point that surely that father should have some rights, shouldn't he ?