Monday, February 18, 2008

Who's the daddy?

Yes, I've blogged about my love for paternity testing tv shows before.

Deadbeat punk, you ARE the father.

I know it's trashy. I know it's low class. I know it's wrong even to be entertained by the obvious misery and personal train-wrecks of these "guests". But I can't help it.

And now, apparently, my home state is trying to get in on the act. But instead of being piped into your living rooms, the touching DNA scene will take place at the side of every post-partum bed in the state. Or it will if SB3717HB2964 goes through. According to the Archcrone:

Basically, this bill provides that each child born in the state of
Tennessee will be tested for paternity before the father’s name can be placed on
the birth certificate. The state will take up the cost of paternity testing when
parent’s are unable to afford the test. Oh, and married couples are not
excluded, making the overt presumption that women are “unfaithful.”

The only thing better would be camera crews roving through the hospital waiting to capture the special moment of revelation. Blecchhhh.... (Though I hate to admit, I'd probably watch.)

(In an interesting side note, this seems like the ideal way to collect a nifty database which would eventually hold the DNA of all citizens.)


I think it's an interesting touch that the state will pick up the cost of testing for the low income. Ironic, even, considering rape victims were being charged for the cost of their rape kits. I was reminded of this by an email I got to my Vol Abroad account.

A young woman emailed to thank me for blogging about the outrage of women having to pay for their own rape kits in the state of Tennessee. She'd been raped. She reported the rape. She agreed to the rape kit, necessary for collecting evidence - and then she'd been charged for it. For whatever reason, probably stunned by disbelief, she didn't pay and now she's received a summons from the hospital that administered it. Sick. Sick. Sick.

When I was mugged on the streets of Knoxville, I got probably two or three hours worth of police time spent on my case that I was aware of - including at least a half hour with a detective. Given salaries and overheads, that wasn't without cost. I never got a bill. That one was on the good citizens of Knoxville.

When our house was broken into here in London, the Met sent round some forensics blokes. They dusted for fingerprints - which led to a conviction. We also spent about an hour talking to a detective, plus whatever time was spent by uniformed police. We never got a bill.

It's bad enough that victims of crime are left out of pocket for their medical treatment. And if they're uninsured, they're robbed twice. A rape kit, as far as I know, isn't for the medical benefit of the victim. It's used to collect evidence. That is purely and simply the responsibility of the state in its role of prosecuting public crimes, for the safety and protection of the public.

Now, thankfully, victims of rape can claim back the costs of their rape kits, according to the Nashville Women's Political Caucus:

Victim’s Rights – Payment of Forensic Sexual Assault Examinations – Worked
successfully to pass legislation that authorizes payment of costs for
forensic sexual assault examinations (for the purpose of gathering evidence of
sexual assault) from the Victim’s Compensation Fund for sexual assault victims
and establishes a “Sexual Assault Examination Fund” to reimburs victims for
these expenses that are not compensable under the victim’s compensation

But that's just not good enough. That means that the victim has to wade through one and perhaps two compensation schemes with the paperwork and the triplicate and the requesting of forms. Talk about adding insult to injury. The only reasonable approach is that the state has to pick up the tab in the first place as part of normal police work.

If I were one of those angry, radical feminists - I might say the link between these two stories is the presumption that all women are whores. Sluts who lie about sleeping around in order to screw some poor guy in the first case or some poor guy and the taxpayer in the second by reporting a rape. She must be a lying hoor, so why should the state pay? But in the case of paternity testing, she must be a lying hoor - so why should the poor, cuckolded schmuck have to pay?


Anonymous said...

Oh what a beautiful morning. VolMom

Noble Savage said...

I don't even know where to begin. Both propositions (making women pay for rape kits and testing all babies for paternity immediately after they are born) make *this* angry radical feminist livid. I sincerely hope that the people of Tennessee rail against these measures and are successful in preventing or overturning them. Let me know if I can help spread the word at all.

Anonymous said...

If the presumption that women lie is false, then why care about this testing? It will prove that women do not lie, thus stregthening your point of view.

I hold that people in general do lie, men and women both, and that in this scenerio only women can pull the wool over the other's eyes when it comes to paternity. So this protects men and children from those women who choose to lie in this way.

I do not think most women lie in this way. The problem is, a man cannot get proof that the child is his without jeapardizing his marriage. Also, many men who are being frauded do not even know to ask-they are in the dark completely.

This bill makes sure every parent starts off on the same equal playing field. Every woman knows for a fact that child is hers, with this bill every man will know for a fact that child is his too.

I think this is a great idea. I would be confident if I got pregnant the baby would be my husband's, so I would not be afraid to have DNA tests. I assume most women would feel the same way-confident the test would tell the truth.

Truthful woman have nothing to fear from these tests. I believe most women would have nothing to fear from these tests.

Jen K

Vol Abroad (really - just couldn't log in) said...

I would be in favor of routine paternity testing in cases of child custody or maintenance disputes.

With your use of the conditional, Jen K, I'm assuming you've never had a baby. Testing at birth, when you're exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed and worried about everything is not a good idea, as it's one more (big) thing to worry about. You may not be worried about the paternity, but faced with the reality of a test, I believe most men would be at least a little worried. It's a most unnecessary distraction.

Men certainly CAN get a child DNA tested without causing a ruckus if they are married and have access to the child. Only two samples are needed to exclude a man as father. His wife need never know. (Obviously, I'm not condoning that kind of sneaky behavior, just pointing out its feasibility.)

My main objections, outside of the presumption that all women are liars, are:

1. the added and uneccessary expense. Why should I have to pay for a DNA test because some people cheat?
2. the freaky number-of-the-beast, end-timey-ness of it all. Ecchhh -it's creating a big giant database with my kid's DNA on it. NO THANKS!
3. Just plain old bad policy - there are so many exceptions and odd circumstances (father pre-deceases child, sperm donation, etc.) and so on that I think it would be impractical. It would also cause significant delay in producing birth certificates and substantial bureaucratic wastefulness - trust me.

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