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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 16:38 GMT
Mother can keep birth 'a secret'
Pregnant woman (generic)
The court ruled the mother and child should remain anonymous
A woman who became pregnant after a one-night stand has been given the right to keep the birth a secret from the father.

The Court of Appeal ruling came after a county court ordered the 20-year-old to tell both her parents and the father.

The three appeal judges agreed "the ultimate veto" over who is told about the birth lay with the mother.

Fathers' groups said the ruling treated the child as the property of the mother "to be disposed of as she sees fit".

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also kept the pregnancy hidden from her family.

No access

She said she wanted the baby girl, who is now 19 weeks old, adopted at birth without the knowledge of either them or her father.

So I presume the mother will expect the state to be paying for the childs upkeep, instead of the father!
Jon, UK

A legal guardian and a local authority made the county court application to ensure the father and the woman's parents were told about the child.

But the Court of Appeal ordered the local authority not to take any action to inform the father.

They also prevented the local authority from taking any steps to allow the girl to meet any of her mother's family in order that they be assessed as potential carers.

The judge said the mother became pregnant when she was 19, and as she lived on her own, kept it secret from her divorced parents who she did not think would provide a good home for the baby.

Lady Justice Arden said the father's rights had not been violated because he did not have any to violate.

It is now clear that the Government believes children have no entitlement to a relationship with their fathers
Michael Cox, Fathers 4 Justice

John Baker, chairman of Families Need Fathers, said "It treats the child as the property of the mother, to be disposed of as she sees fit."

He said the ruling, taken in conjunction with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which could remove the requirement for IVF clinics to recognise the need of a father, was "intensely worrying".

He said: "A strong message seems to be sent that makes fathers redundant in the upbringing of children."

'Ultimate veto'

Fathers 4 Justice barrister Michael Cox said: "This father is the victim of a wicked deceit in which the State has been complicit.

"It is now clear that the Government believes children have no entitlement to a relationship with their fathers and that children are the property of their mothers and of the State."

Lord Justice Thorpe said: "The law improves the opportunity of the child of anonymous birth to search out its biological origin.

"However, the ultimate veto remains with the mother. Registers of information are in place to lead the searching child to the mother's door but the child has no right of entry if the mother, despite counselling, refuses to unlock it."

Peers attack 'fatherless' IVF bid
19 Nov 07 |  UK Politics

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