Feminism has been pretty successful when it comes to implementing new laws that look out for women’s rights. Examples in the US include rape shield laws and the Violence Against Women Act, both of which can be questioned regarding their gender neutrality and gender fairness – even though the intention behind these laws were noble.
However, when it comes to men and men’s rights, the legal system still lags far behind. I’ve previously written about my proposal to DNA test all newborns, and to do away with the old fashioned laws that presume the husband of a woman to be the father, or that expect a man to accept fatherhood simply by trusting the woman.
Unfortunately, the legal system in the US (or elsewhere for that matter) still has to catch up on men’s rights and what’s best for the child, so we are still stuck with laws that determine paternity not through proper biological testing, but through probability. This means that some men raise children, or pay child support, even though it’s not their child to begin with.
Fortunately, there are commercial DNA tests available, which means that any man can test his child to see whether it truly is his child or not. You’d think that a DNA test that conclusively proves that you are not the father would be enough to release you from any paternal obligations, including child support, but apparently this is not the case in some US states.
Have a look at this article, that I just came across:
A South Georgia man who had been jailed for more than a year for not paying child support — even though he was not the biological father — was released from custody on Wednesday.
Come again? A man was jailed for not paying child support for a child that isn’t his?? There’s something rotten in the state of Georgia…
The judge, however, postponed deciding whether Hatley must still repay the more than $10,000 in child support the state says he owes.
In a sane world that decision would be a no-brainer. Either you find the real father and make him pay, or else you let the untrustworthy mother pay for her decision to make an innocent man pay her large sums of money.
Two DNA tests — one conducted nine years ago and another earlier this month — proved that Hatley was not the father of Travon Morrison, who is now 21. Even after learning he was not the father, Hatley paid thousands of dollars the state said he owed for support. After losing his job and becoming homeless, he still made payments out of his unemployment benefits.
This man is nothing short of a hero. In a society that couldn’t care less about his rights, he pays child support even when he’s unemployed, for a child that isn’t his to begin with!
Urgent legislative reforms are needed to prevent that this kind of scenario arise in the future. The most swift and fair solution is already out there: DNA test all newborns, to secure two adults who are responsible for the emotional and financial well-being of the child.