Ages ago, when I dated a guy in the Air Force, he told me it was mandatory that children with military parents be tested for correct paternity to receive benefits. I cringed, arguing that it was insulting and disrespectful and interfered with patient confidentiality and anyway, who would seriously lie about the paternity of a child?
That only happens on Maury, right?
Actually...it happens to more than 250,000 men a year in America. And, it happened to an old college friend of mine who just found out that the child he had given his name to, wasn't his.
But by then it was too late. You've established a bond over nearly 10 months with a child, you've created an environment conducive to raising that child, you've retired your child-like self to be a parent...arguably the most transformative time in an individual's life.
And then, days, months or years later, you find out that that child does not share your genetic makeup. You find out that you were deceived. And if the duped father decides that he wants to leave whatever union created that child, he is still required to legally finance that child's life.
If it could happen to Ne-Yo, believe me, it could happen to you.
It's like a jacked, human form of credit card scam. Paternity fraud. And it happens more often than you think. It is, essentially, a crime.
And aren't we obligated to curb a crime and ameliorate the pain that the life-altering discovery brings?
When a baby is born, the first thing a doctor does it prick and prod him or her, testing for blood type, sickle cell and Phenylketonuria. The baby is then given an identification code bracelet, as a security measure, that matches the child with a mother wearing the same bracelet.
These practices are mandatory for obvious reasons: health and safety. But when doctors prick a baby's little foot in the first moments of life for testing, would it be unethical to use that blood sample to confirm the lineage of that child for the birth certificate? Does this raise the question of the government interfering, yet again, with a woman's reproductive rights?
Long form, yes...those could all be arguments.
Short form, mandatory paternity tests could protect the rights of men who are not biologically bound to a child.
For the record, I applaud men who raise children who do not belong to them. I admire those men that sign the birth certificate fully knowing that they have no genetic makeup that connects them with the newborn. And for those men who find out much later that a child they have been calling their own doesn't biologically belong to them, but still insists on fathering that child? Those noble souls do not come a dime a dozen.
However, we must recognize that paternity fraud is real, and there are many men who are not legally protected from the mental and financial torment the crime breeds.
If we are obligated to protect the well-being and life of citizens, shouldn't that include protecting them from the psychological shock of a situation that could totally be avoided?
Preventative measures. That's really what healthcare is about anyway.
There are no stigmas attached to testing blood for disease or deformities. Why should we continue to perpetuate the archaic stigmas attached to paternity tests? Should we continue current practices as not to insult or hurt feelings? Is that fair to a child? Is that fair to a father?
We disenfranchise men and fathers every single day through pop culture, media and music. Isn't it time we start empowering them and holding men accountable for their children? Or, on the flip side, give them a chance to decide if they want to be legally bound to a child that is not their own?
We're a long way from mandatory paternity tests. And I may be tripping...after all, I rarely advocate for men because I believe so very few advocate for women. My energy could be spent elsewhere. But consider this, if mandatory paternity tests were implemented, could we get rid of the attached stigma and maybe save a few hearts in the process?
And if all those other reasons fail to convince you, think of the utopian world where we wouldn't be subjected to Maury's antics any longer.
But I'll leave it up to you, the readers...you be the judge.