Here's a little story. You get up one day and turn on the breakfast time radio news programme. A big story is breaking. Maternity wards have been mixing up the babies and sending women home with the wrong child! Moreover this has been happening at every maternity ward in the country since records began. Estimates have shown that at least 10% of all children have been brought up by the wrong mother - and possibly as much as 30%!
Can you imagine if this actually happened? There would be a sociological thermonuclear explosion. It's just off the scale in terms of public reaction and horror.
But it doesn't stop there. It has been discovered that these baby mix-ups have not happened by accident. It's been done deliberately. The people responsible have been identified. And there are laws under which these despicable acts can be prosecuted. But guess what - the authorities have decided not to prosecute.
What? You're kidding, right? Life imprisonment for these bastards, surely?
Too far fetched? Then grasp this. The above scenario is essentially true - right here and now in the good old UK. But it's not women who have been given the wrong babies - it's men. Phew! So, that's OK, then.
It is extremely common for women to tell a man (husband or otherwise) that a child is his, when in fact it is not. This is paternity fraud (though, to be fair, in some cases it might be an honest mistake). If deliberate, and it often is, it is a crime. In many cases the criminals are known, because DNA testing establishes that the woman has lied. How many women have been prosecuted for this crime? None - zero. Not one. Ever.
In my essay below I present some evidence on the extent of paternity fraud. In the UK, data obtained using the freedom of information legislation indicated that of all tests ordered by the UK Child Support Agency the following percentages revealed the man whom the woman claimed to be father in fact was not: 10.6% (2004/5), 16.4% (2005/6), 13.6% (2006/7) and 19% (2007/8).
A multi-nation study, referenced in my essay, indicates average rates of paternity fraud across the data collected of ~28%, though these data relate to cases where paternity had been disputed prior to testing and hence might be expected to be higher than in the public as a whole. The same paper using data from tests where there had been no such dispute were about 4% to 7%, though these tests allowed opt-out from people who might have been concerned about the outcome and so these estimates may err on the low side. Finally, the video embedded below features an interview with a woman who actually carries out the DNA testing and she confirmed a negative rate of 10-12%. Note, however, that in the UK a DNA test can only be carried out if the mother gives her consent. The involved man (I will not say "father") has no right to demand a DNA test. It is reasonable to suppose that the rate of negative results would be greater in those cases where the woman has withheld her permission. Consequently I conclude that UK rates of paternity fraud are likely to be greater than 12%, so the most recent CSA figure of 19% may be the best estimate. Rates are believed to be far lower in higher socioeconomic groups, but correspondningly higher, perhaps ~30%, in the lowest socioeconomic groups.
Paternity fraud would appear to be the most common of crimes. And yet it is never punished. Well, perhaps those two things are not unrelated.
How seriously should paternity fraud be viewed as a crime? This is unambiguous in my opinion. It is one of the most heinous crimes there is. It inflicts two distinct hardships upon its victims, both extremely onerous. And the crime is inflicted callously with no remorse and no recognition by the perpetrator that the matter is particularly serious. The two types of harm are financial and emotional. Even considered only as financial fraud it must rank as easily the most serious to which any ordinary person is subject. If you have your wallet stolen and someone empties all your bank accounts, takes all your savings and maxes out your credit cards, that's a major blow. But that is insignificant compared with paying for the maintenance of a child (and perhaps a wife) for 18 years. And then there is the emotional destruction of finding that 'your' son/daughter isn't! Perhaps after 18 years faithful devotion. This is something that women have no knowledge of. Can you imagine the howls of anguish if even a small number of women were exposed to such trauma? The huge disparity between the seriousness of the harm to the victim and the casual manner in which the crime is perpetrated upon them can be explained by only one thing: that women do not consider that harm done to men really matters. The widespread nature of paternity fraud exposes the true standing of men in our society: we are the people whose human rights are not important.
Historically, a man had no option but to trust a woman if she said a child was his. But there is now no need at all for paternity to be in doubt. DNA testing will establish paternity with essentially complete confidence. In the USA any man can, by right, demand a DNA test. But in the UK this is not the case. A man may request a DNA test, but such a test is granted only if the woman approves. And if the child is old enough, the child's permission must also be obtained. What an excellent arrangement! Just which women are likely to withhold agreement to testing? Of course, you can buy your own DNA testing kits these days. But if a man were to carry out his own, unofficial, test without legal consent (which generally means without the consent of the mother) he would be committing an offence under UK law and will be liable for up to 3 years in prison. The injustice of this can only leave one breathless with rage. Men simply have no rights at all.
And the injustice does not stop there. Just as the mother may be less concerned with a correct attribution of paternity than with selecting the man whom she thinks is the most likely to pay, so the state has exactly the same attitude. The state simply wants some man - any man - to bear the cost of raising the child, because otherwise the cost will fall to the state. So, even if a DNA test is carried out and the man proves not to be the father, he will often still be liable to pay child support - for 18 years. I cannot pretend to know all the rules but if the man was married to the mother when the child was conceived, albeit with another man, he may still be obliged to pay - for this other man's child. Similarly, if, prior to the negative DNA test being carried out, the man agrees to have his name on the child's birth certificate (in good faith at the time that the child is his), then he will remain liable for child support despite later finding out that he is not the father. Cute, eh? In fact, even if the man is not married to the mother, and also proves not to be the biological father, he may still be liable for child support if he was living with the mother at the time of conception and/or has at some earlier time acted and behaved as if accepting the child as his own - again, in former ignorance of the truth. There is no semblance of justice in any of this. Mothers and the state have arranged things to their own advantage with no consideration at all for fairness to men. It is simply outrageous.
My brief remarks on paternity fraud here.
So far only one type of paternity fraud has been discussed on this page: when a woman lies about who the father is. But there is another type of paternity fraud. This is when the woman gets herself pregnant against the wishes of her partner. This can be done by pretending to be taking contraception when she is not - "Oops, I must have forgotten to take my pill". Forgotten on purpose more likely. Even more reprehensible is when a woman takes sperm from a used condom and uses it to impregnate herself. Far fetched? Not a bit of it. It's more common than you realise. See this article by journalist Liz Jones who frankly admits she did it - repeatedly, to two different men - and reports that she knows other women who have done the same. There was a case in the States in which a woman had a one night stand with a guy and offered to dispose of the condom after sex. That night was the last he saw of her until, out of the blue, he was hit with a claim for child support. Still find it hard to believe? Read this piece by Janet Bloomfield.
Men need a contraceptive pill. If you want a good demonstration of how women fail to see things from man's point of view, just raise the subject of a male contraceptive pill with a woman. I guarantee that they will be sceptical about its usefulness because they will say that they would not trust a man to take it. Hilarious! As if men want the pill to reassure them! No, men need a contraceptive pill so that they can be sure they don't father a child they don't want. Men want the pill because women have already proved to be untrustworthy. Men want to know that if the woman gets pregnant then someone else is the father - so don't come to me for child support.