Is it time we curbed mothers’ rights?

Imagine the scenario: a mother giving birth in hospital while the father of their child speeds across town on his motorbike to see their first child enter the world. But in his excitement he loses control of his bike and is fatally wounded. The midwives are informed and draw straws on who will tell mum the good news – that her baby is healthy – the bad news that the baby’s father is dead – and the even worse news that:

BECAUSE THE DAD IS DEAD, MUM IS NOW CONSIDERED TO BE A POTENTIAL THREAT TO HER CHILD, IS NOT LEGALLY A MOTHER AND CANNOT TAKE HER BABY HOME WITH HER!

Can you imagine this happening to a parent in the UK in 2012? You can’t? Well it does.

It happened in the past month to a parent in Wales whose partner died shortly after the birth of their child. The grieving parent was treated like a stranger to the baby, not allowed to take their baby home and the child protection system was invoked.

The reason the parent was considered a threat to their new born baby and not allowed to take the baby was simple – HE IS A MAN!

The hospital did nothing wrong – and by all accounts handled the issue with great professionalism and speed – ensuring the case was brought to court and a temporary order granted allowing him to take the baby home.

They were simply acting in line with UK law which considers unmarried fathers to be a potential threat to their children until vetted – as opposed to mothers who are assumed to be fit parents unless there is evidence to the contrary.
So the question is this, if we stand for equality between men and women should we curb mothers’ rights and assume that mums are not fit to take their babies home until they have been vetted by child protection professionals too OR is it time to treat dads the same as mums and grant all mums and dads automatic parental rights from birth – unless there’s a good reason not to?
To read more about the story of the father whose partner died shortly after she gave birth to their child see Duncan Fishers’ Blog here.
About

Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at www.helpingmen.co.uk.

Posted in NEWS
3 comments on “Is it time we curbed mothers’ rights?
  1. […] rights as unmarried mothers. For a stark example of this in practice,to read a recent story of a dad in Wales denied the right to take his newborn baby home from […]

  2. […] unequally, this law leads to the unnecessary mistreatment of dads, such as the Welsh father who was prevented from taking his baby home after his partner died during childbirth –  for no other reason than he was an unmarried male […]

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