23 November, 2007


The Court of Appeal has just ruled that a woman (aged 20) who became pregnant after a one night stand and who wishes to give the baby away without telling either her parents or the man who is the father, has the right to do so. According to Lady Justice Arden, the father's right were not being violated because he did not have any rights in this situation.

I don't know what to think about this. On one hand, F4J (for once) have a point: it does send a negative message about the role of the father in society.

But the problem is that the burden of pregnancy, birth and immediately after is solely the woman's. No matter how fantastic a man is, he is biologically incapable of sharing any portion of that burden.

I feel that the decision of what happens to a child before birth, and immediately after it, must lie in the hands of the mother, otherwise we end up forcing women to continue with pregnancies they do not want for the benefit of the father where the mother bears the burden. I cannot this that right.

This ruling is grossly unfair to fathers, but in my view it is the lesser of two evils. When the alternative is forcing women to go through pregnancy and childbirth or even an unwilling/coerced abortion, that is far worse. The biological rights of the mother have to stand over the asserted social rights of the father.

Update: The case can be found here. (You may have to use your ATHENS username and password to access it).

Citation for those who cannot access Bailii: C (A Child) v XYZ County Council & Anor [2007] EWCA Civ 1206

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