Cross-posted at Fathered Five
On its face, it's a good idea: maintain a database of fathers so that estranged fathers can be consulted in case of adoption. It helps protect the rights of fathers, right? Mothers can't just give the child up for adoption without the father's agreement.
But the devil is in the details, and these details are straight from the hellish imagination of a damn strange devil. Meet him below the fold.
[A Virginia law asks] unmarried men to fill out forms notifying the state when they have sex — multiple forms if they have multiple sexual "events."
If they don't, they risk their rights to any child that might be born as a result. Hence the advice: Since men may not know whether a pregnancy resulted from an encounter, especially if it takes place outside a continuing relationship, they should register just in case.
Oh, this is rich. Can't you just see men all over the state rushing to their computers the morning after to Log in with Ye Olde Commonwealth to register a "sexual event?" I can see the glitches now. If it's a threesome, do I have to register twice? What if I used a condom—do I still have to register? If I'm cheating on my wife; does that count as "unmarried?" (On the other hand, that issue shouldn't be a sticking point because cheating bastards are usually eager to build a thorough audit trail.) Not to mention spam! This law screams, "Point your funny contest here!" And the abuse! You know someone's going to Log in as George W. Bush and register an "event" with a bevy of hookers. [Maybe it was me, and maybe it wasn't. I'm just sayin'] Only in
America the South Virginia our Brave New World.
Don't get me wrong—I'm all for monogamy and fidelity. I'm just against stupidity in government. And you guessed it, the GOP controls both houses in VA.
The dark side
Yuk-yuks aside, there is a more serious problem with this law. It purports to protect the rights of fathers by making it easier to find them in the case of accidental pregnancy so he can be notified and opt in to his child's life. A noble goal. But the practical result is otherwise:
Until this new law, before a child could be adopted, an effort had to be made to determine the identity and whereabouts of the father. In many cases, that process was not truly cumbersome; many men denied fatherhood or consented to adoption. But occasionally it turned up fathers who wanted to be responsible for their newly discovered children, to make homes for them or have them raised by family members.
With the new law, if no man preregisters as a possible father, no effort will be made to find or inform the father of a child being placed for adoption, unless his identity is "reasonably ascertainable."
Yes, the old requirement to look for and consult fathers could slow down adoptions. But it also protected men's rights to their children — and children's right to their fathers. Once parental ties are terminated, that's it. Irrevocable acts must be undertaken carefully when children and parents are involved.
Call up Daddy Virginia and tell him what you did last night, and with whom, or forever lose any claim on the potential child. Government doesn't get any worse than when it meddles in families, in my opinion (though it's admittedly sometimes necessary). This is the worst kind of meddling.