Devaluing Carework: Where DNA Takes Us

I suspect the heading for this post ranks among my least creative.   The problem of devaluing carework has been explored in depth and at length by many authors.    But it seems to me that it is important here, too.  

The ways in which we devalue carework (by which I mean the work of providing care for others) are many.   Professions like nursing, elder care, and daycare (all intensive forms of carework) are historically low-paid and low status jobs.     People who stay home to raise their children are sometimes referred to as “non-working” parents.   (While this was far more common in the past, it does persist.)  The contribution stay-at-home parents make to the family economy and to the national GDP is not counted.   We simply do not see the value of their labor.   Staying home with kids is understood to be a sort of luxury rather than a critical function, such that poor parents are strongly encouraged (if not required) to get a “real” paying job rather than raising their own children.        

There’s a vibrant critique of the devaluation of carework.   It’s largely a feminist critique, because most of the people who perform carework are women, but it isn’t limited in its application.    It’s true that you can often carework into specific tasks–washing, dressing, feeding, etc.   But at it’s best carework clearly includes a social/relational component.  It isn’t just about making sure the baby has clean clothes.  It’s the social interaction and affection that goes along with the new diaper.      

It seems to me that devaluing carework is of a piece with devaluing children.   For all our rhetoric, it seems we don’t value children enough to ensure that their basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, education and care are met.   This seems stunningly shortsighted to me–children are, after all, the people who’ll be running things when we get old.  

But let me return to my topic before I descend into a formless rant.   The short version of the above point is this–we undervalue carework and I think that is problematic.  And I’ve come to realize that (at least for me) the “DNA defines legal parenthood” stance is yet another facet of the same devaluation of carework. 

If you have two people who are raising a child together and one does all the care work while the other claims a genetic link but does no carework, a DNA-based approach tells us that the latter is a parent but the former is not.   That’s true one year in or five years in or ten years in.   That’s true even if the genetically related person has no real relationship with the child.  

Given the rights, obligations and outright power that come with legal parenthood, that makes the first person a permanant player in the child’s life while the second one is simply a passer-by.   That, it seems to me, fundamentally devalues carework.   It denies the unique importance of the relationship between this child and this caretaker.  (For what it is worth, I do not think all caretaker/child relationships are the same, by the way.  The babysitter is not a parent.  It isn’t all that hard to tell them apart.) 

Consistent with what I said above, it also demonstrates a lack of concern for the child.   Does anyone really think that the child who loses all contact with the caretaker of ten years suffers no harm?  

I know there are no perfect systems.   But it seems to me a view that consistently devalues carework–or more exactly, places no value on it at all–is entirely unjustifiable.    Is there any real justification for reliance on DNA beyond “it’s natural” or some variation on that? 

I’m sure I should have seen this connection long ago, but better late than never.

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73 responses to “Devaluing Carework: Where DNA Takes Us

  1. I find it difficult to understand what you mean “2 people are raising a child, one does all the carework, one does none.” Either they are or aren’t raising the child?

    • Good point. Okay, so they have agreed to raise the child together but one person is doing all the work. There are actually lots of possible variations and if it matters, we could talk about some of them. The genetically linked person could be working far away so she/he isn’t around at all. Or could be around, but not interested in interacting with the kid. Or something else. But I see the confusion.

  2. Young children are likely to be psychologically affected by being separated from their primary caregiver. So, I’d have to give the caregiver role some weight because of that. Although never to the extend of pushing the biological parent out. They will be much less affected by being separated from the secondary caregiver.
    This is unfair to a partner that is working hard at being a breadwinner. The breadwinner maybe working just as hard but have less of a relationship, at least when the child is small, but its a reality that has to be dealt with.
    Another thing that’s unfair is that a slacking-off parent may have less of a relationship when the kid is small but make a comeback only to catch up when the kid is older and there is less work to do. It’s unfair but it’s a fact of life too.
    But what it all meanst is that the work one does as a parent, adoptive or biological, is for free. There is no known payoff, not even a guaranteed relationship.

    • i’ve seen it happen… mom struggles to raise the kids alone while ex husband is out cruising for chicks, and then one day the kid is old enough and says “I’m going to live with daddy”. How unfair! I really feel for those women! But still, can I say that the kid can’t decide what sort of relationship to have with each parent out of a sense of obligation and fairness?

  3. … and that the relationship is free too- it’s not a reward or a paycheck. It stands on its own.

  4. Kidnappers will be thrilled with this, they’ve always felt undervalued. Remember the O. Henry story The Ransom of Red Chief?

  5. How does placing DNA as the first criteria devalue care? If the parent fails they can loose their rights.

    You know how I no longer talk about confirming dna at birth? Its not that I don’t still like the idea its just not going to be the way that I get what I want because its just too radical a departure from the way things are done now and people are too scared about invasions of privacy to listen to logic, so its a waste of my time to pursue it. I need to look for other options to achieve the same goal that actually stand a chance of happening. I think your goal of naming a female as the second parent at birth is within reach if you don’t [outwardly] reject the biological basis for parenthood even if you happen to believe its all hogwash and hooey. Really, your dealing with fathers who have presumably signed release forms for the clinics that inseminated the women with their sperm. Your dealing with women who could and would probably be willing to prove that the father of the child willingly relinquished his parental obligations to the child’s mother which if the laws were massaged a little should operate similarly to a second parent adoption but the law would have to specifically avoid being either biological parenthood or adoption to get around that little hiccup where the people have to be married. See my goal would be to fill out the birth certificate if not with his name in the father slot at least with a donor number to be fair to all children this way because many of them will be lied to and this document is the only way they’ll ever get the same level of information that everyone else has at least at 18, so it could say relinquished upon birth. There could be some sort of like advance directive that goes into effect upon the birth of his children so that his fatherhood is respected for the DNA fanatics his consent to conception and relinquishment is documented outside of the private files of a clinic and the advance directive could say that he takes no objection to the mother selecting another person to assume his parental obligations without regard to that persons gender to the same extent AS IF the child were their own offspring then put another line on the birth record for the person assuming the parental roll.
    I don’t love it as you might not but what it would be good for in my mind is that a law that deals with the consent aspect of commercialized conception is really long over due, patients who don’t intend to conceive with strangers should not be forced into situations where they loose their children due to a clinic error or outright fraud. It happens quite a bit, but once would be enough to seek some protection there. Also A mechanism that is gender neutral that would go hand in hand with modifying the law that says a husband “is the father” of a child fathered by an anonymous man through a clinic is just to me offensive. Being named the father based on a false presumption and then allowing it to go uncorrected is bullsht. I understand that bullsht is all you’ve had to hang your collective hat on in attempting to gain parental recognition in an atmosphere where the majority of americans still feel that their own marriages are somehow personally under attack if you happen to want your ss death benefits to go to your same gender spouse than your opposite gender spouse. Its a great argument actually which frightens me because I don’t think anyone should be capitalizing on false presumptions. People should put their cards on the table because obviously enough people want to know the biological facts about who their parents are and its not fair that some are allowed and some are not. I wish you’d stop going down the rabbit hole about whether or not it matters really to someones psychological well being if they do or don’t know their parents. Like you said studies studies we all have studies. It takes you in circles just as much as it takes someone in my position. I don’t really think your core ideal is unreasonable and I don’t think mine is either.
    Its like who cares why gays and lesbians want to get married or if its beneficial to them or the children of the individuals. Their emotional well being really is not germain – to me it boils down to if there is nothing in the code in my state that gives any particular purpose to the gender requirements. It does not say that marriages must have a male to do the blankity blank blank and a female to bla blah blah, therefore its not fair. Its just a descrepancy that exists from when children born of marriage were legitimate and those born out of marriage were not, well then in that case, you’d need a male huh? Now unmarried men are equally obligated as it should be so – to bad no more gender requirement. Even if illigitimacy was still a factor it could still be argued that some people don’t have kids and they are allowed to get married. Anyway my point is you stand a chance of achieving your goal which is not unreasonable if you don’t trample all over something that is important to many people and that is fathers of the unqualified sort.

    I don’t talk about DNA testing at birth anymore. Threatening to take DNA out of the mix is scary people could have their children stolen by any old body who takes them and keeps them long enough to bond. Have a heart I don’t think you need to publicly go that far to get something simple like being named the parent of a child whose father relinquished his obligations in an advance directive do you? Really??

    • I like how you are trying to find a workable compromise, Marilynn. I think your concerns could be worked into the compromise I’m working on, and maybe Julie’s could too. I’ve already tried to incorporate the concerns of the two sides of the marriage debate. So here is the new compromise, from each side’s perspective:

      Marilynn: Identify progenitors on birth certificate (at least by donor number or ‘unknown’) (-concession: no DNA testing at birth)
      Julie: Automatic assignment of parental status to intended care givers (if uncontested) (-concession: revelation of progenitor identity on birth certificate)
      LGBT: Federal recognition of state Civil Unions as marriage provided they are defined as “marriage minus conception rights”, leading to strong CU’s and protections in more states, hopefully all 50 states. (-concession: the name “marriage” and the right to reproduce offspring with someone of the same sex)
      Traditionalists: Preserving marriage as a man and a woman in all 50 states in principled permanent manner. (-concession: federal recognition and equal benefits for committed same-sex couples)
      Greenies/Children: Preventing unsustainable Brave New World of genetic engineering of designer babies and preserving equal procreation rights and equality and natural human origins. (-concession: sperm banks stay open – OK, like Marilynn, we don’t really give anything up, we just don’t get everything we want)
      Transhumanists: They’d gain a second chance to get a life (-concession: Transhumanism)

      Am I leaving anyone out?

  6. I don’t know your story John but I used kidnapped in my boringly long comment which you will disagree with too so I thumbs uped you.

  7. Here is the thing that bugs me about the caregiver is the real parent theory.

    They all claim the title before they do any of the work.

    No, no. Juile don’t go there with the pregnant woman thing and the having a relationship with someone who cannot interact with her yet. Expectant parent until birth is based on the fact that the child has to exist outside and seperate from her body before she can truly take care of another human being as a parent. I think maybe this was one avenue you were exploring to achieve what is, like I said, not an entirely unreasonable goal.

    Honestly though when adopted parents go on and on about how they are the real parents from having done years of heavy lifting and boo boo kissing I like to remind them that they were calling themselves Mom and Dad before the ink was dry on the adoption decree just like Mom’s and Dad’s do while the ink is still wet on the birth certificate. Frankly all that just does not fly with me. There are good and bad parents, there are adoptive parents and now maybe if we put our thinking caps on there will be another category of people who gained their parental statuses fair and square with consent and no double talk or shady loopholes.

    The straight people won’t like it becaue they want to keep lying F them

    • I know you asked me not to go there, but I differ with you about whether there is interaction between a pregnant women and the fetus she carries.

      If I were to set that aside, I do see the problem you raise–no one (else) has cared for the child at its instance of birth. How do we choose among candidates? Perhaps we should consider two scenarios–too many want to claim legal parentage and too few want to claim legal parentage? I suppose if you take away my previously pregnant woman you might have those who claim through intention vs. those who claim by genetics.

      I am not sure how much further we can drive this bit of the conversation. I understand that there are genetically related individuals, but I’d like a reason to give them primacy. Mostly the answer seems to be something about it being real. But in that context I don’t know what real means.

      • “I understand that there are genetically related individuals, but I’d like a reason to give them primacy. Mostly the answer seems to be something about it being real. But in that context I don’t know what real means.”

        Do you want to die on this hill or do you want to change the law so that an unmarried mother can select someone to assume the parental roll left vacant by the anonymous father of her child? The world has a problem with putting the name of a woman on the line where the father’s name is suppose to go because its just not biologically possible.

        If you could gain parental recognition for lesbian partners without having to be married and without 2nd parent adoption and all you needed to do was just aknowledge that every child does have a father and their consent should be given before someone else assumes their parental obligations, why would you not do it? The vast majority of lesbians that become mothers have anonymous men father their children and they hopefully consent – show the consent papers what is the big deal?

        Instead of acting like everyone is nuts and fatherhood is totally random and irrelevant just aknowledge the existence of the child’s father and provide the registrar of births proof that 1) he actually agreed to conceive the child anonymously (its not a clinic error/malfeasance) and 2) he agreed in advance not to assume his parental roll/responsibilities when the child is born but instead allow his duties to be reassigned by the mother to another consenting party at any point prior to the child’s 18th birthday. She could be single when born and meet a fantastic woman later on (why not work that in there?) Why not let her name whoever she wants whenever she wants by requesting that the certificate be amended (noted as such)? She may never be allowed to marry someone that’s the same gender, 2nd parent adoption may never be an option for her.

        There could be an alternate for women who do non-medical inseminations (not currently covered, right?) let the mother name someone else to assume parental responsibilities of the father but agreeing that if the father surfaces he will not be a legal stranger and will be recognized as the child’s father but without any legal obligation or authority unless or until a judge considers the particular circumstances like did the mother and her partner conspire to prevent him from assuming his roll? Did they hide? Did they lie, stuff like that. The mother would have to acknowledge that he would be entitled to some level of contact with the child to be determined in court on a case by case basis that would not tear the child away from the mother and her partner even if they had conspired to block the father out of general nastiness. The child is after all use to that living situation.

        That would be fair and respectful to father’s and their family if they never intended to relinquish their contact with the child because the mother was being a jerk like I have seen so many times – but Julie it would also respect the fact that the child has a bond with the people they’ve been raised with. The current system can tragically reward unscrupulous mothers and those who conspire to lock fathers out who want to be involved in their child’s life. If the mother chose to lock the father out for a reason it really had better be a good one like the kind that requires a restraining order.

        • Okay– I surely don’t want to die on the hill, whatever that means. Neither do I want to deny biology–for every child there is a man somewhere with the matching DNA. But that said, I am not willing to make any concession about the legal status of that man.

          Perhaps we can agree the birth certificate is a side issue. I think you want it to be a record like a pedigree and if it were that maybe we could agree. But in many/most places that isn’t what a birth certificate is, and so I don’t agree, but this actually seems sort of tangential.

          I do want a different way to assign parental rights. I think I would like a single system for all people–whether coupled or not, married or not, male or female. And maybe you and I could redesign the world we’d agree. Everyone would have a pedigree and then also some statement of legal parentage distinct from that. And the latter statement wouldn’t depend on genetics while the former would.

          Where exactly do we disagree? I think it might be where you talk about consent. I don’t think sperm should be stolen from men. But where men give over the sperm–for money, while having sex, whatever–that’s as much consent as I need to see from them. I don’t care to give them further power to give or withhold consent. I think you do (though I could be wrong?)

          There’s also the terminology–the “father” thing. Perhaps that’s best left as a matter of taste. I won’t concede that all children have fathers–I think the language just confuses things. But people can call men who provide sperm “fathers” if that’s what they want to do, I suppose, as long as they don’t mean “legal fathers.” Will you agree that I do not have to use the term?

          Finally, for what it is worth, I am not sure you are factually correct when you say “The vast majority of lesbians that become mothers have anonymous men father their children” I’ve not seen statistics on this. But this is also tangential.

          • I appreciate your entertaining my suggestions at all. I’m not at all suggesting that I am in a position to disallow you to say something now I’m embarrassed. I’ve been watching the blog for a year and after a while I thought I understood what your objective might ultimately be which is to write some sort of paper that would ultimately go beyond scholarly circles and be taken seriously by someone in a position to change the law so that you could make a real difference to women long after your gone. The term dying on that hill means pick your battles. Gays and lesbians are in the minority and the average non gay votor does not have a dog in the fight, it seems absurd to name a female on a birth certificate where the father usually goes and your not going to be able to go personally explain your position to everyone to sway their vote. I believe in you and what you are trying to achieve and I think its possible but I’m assuming it cant be done without making a few concessions. I should not have said vast majoirty have anonymous men father their children that is not actually even true in my experience. The vast majority of lesbians that I know have children from prior relationships with men, there is no issue. Their spouse is a step parent and that is the end of it. I do work with a married couple that chose anonymous men to father their children, they swapped fetus’ if you can believe that in order to gain recognition over eachothers children and its a bit of a furball since they’ve broken up. They took their biological kid with them and the arrangement is all off the books. Yes anyway. What I should have said is its my understanding that your chief concern about having to get consent was its hard to get consent from an anonymous person. I’m saying its actually not hard to get that consent at all if your working with a clinic and it would afford a level of protection to men who don’t consent to their sperm being used for that purpose. Now you may not believe men really need to consent but be aware that the vast majority of the country would lean more towards thinking consent was necessary than not. And you need a vehicle for introducing the unrelated person that does not appear to squash anyone’s perceived rights (hows that). You need something that does not look like second parent adoption because marriage is coming slowly and there is no reason why they need to be married anyway if its not necessary to be married to make a biological baby.

            I am actually quite excited about the thought that securing what i consider to be a truthful record could actually come to fruition in in a a way that I never would have thought of. I would want it to apply to straight people as well and they’d hate it. If I were running the pr campaign I would make it seem like it only impacted gays and lesbians so it could slip in quietly under the radar as a super option for people that oppose gay marriage. Then I would want to challenge the presumption of paternity as not applicable to liars.

            I’d just like to see you accomplish your goal with out anone having to feel heartbroken they lost their child. I want to make sure yes genetically related people consent.

            On fathers you can use whatever word you want I’m trying it out for size I went through my progenitor phase I’m boycotting the D word this month. Don’t hurt your head over it because I may try a different approach in a month. I’m trying to come up with the most intelligent way to describe how i feel too. I’m just exercising my brain by choosing other words that are not so clinic friendly

            • “I do work with a married couple that chose anonymous men to father their children, they swapped fetus’ if you can believe that in order to gain recognition over eachothers children and its a bit of a furball since they’ve broken up.”

              They swapped fetuses? OK, they did it for immediate legal parenthood status over each other’s kid, but how did they regain their own parenthood rights? With a maternity test?

              I think another reason they did it is because that way their kid can look at each parent on their birthday, like I can, and think “wow, it is not just my own birthday, it is also the day my mom gave birth to her child, the day she went through all that pain and labor for me. And it’s the day my Dad became a father” (but in their case of course the “Dad” would be the genetic mom, and there would still be an unknown parent/father/progenitor out there, but at least both guardians have something to do with their birth. That does probably help the family bond together, err, or not.)

              • Its absurd right The childs father stil exists no matter what games or charade they play.

                They know whose kid is whose and they each are raising their own child despite the fact that legally they gave birth to the kid not living with them. The kids are siblings they used the same dad

          • Who are you most concerned with helping? Just break it down. The roll of parent is left vacant by a man who was A) an ex-boyfriend who really wants to be in their childs life, or B) a lusty one night stand whose name the mother never caught who dissappeared into early morning mist C) a man who agreed to to father the child and go away he can be a personal friend or a clinic hook up.

            I think in reality the group you want to help does not include women conspiring to exclude an ex lover, that’s straight people. Not your problem. I’ll deal with them later. If lesbians brought consent into the picture for fathers it would be a president to stop blocking unmarried fathers from having contact with their kids if the mom is married to someone else. I hate that law.

          • So, no more child support obligations for illegitimate kids?

            • of course what makes you say that. i have a hole in my idea?

              • My comment was in reply to Julie, who said: “But where men give over the sperm–for money, while having sex, whatever–that’s as much consent as I need to see from them. I don’t care to give them further power to give or withhold consent.”

                But the state usually says that the man is obligated to provide support for the child, and the mom can’t deprive the child of this. A friend of mine once got hit with a support order for a child he didn’t know he had fathered (what’s Julie’s word for doing that? Prognetated?), but he was able to get out of it by demanding visitation, which she refused and her new boyfriend decided to marry her, so he was off the hook. I don’t know if the kid’s BC lists him as the father or the other guy, but the husband is the other legal guardian, I hope understood by all as a step father. I know my friend thinks of himself as having a child out there.

                • Yeah yeah John that blew me away when I first started reading Julie’s posts I finally pinned her down on that issue so now there is no misunderstanding. She is not concerned with that part of it the child support part. She’d rather have the mother be completely autonomous, not because she wants children to starve I’m pretty sure that she thinks she has to make the male role completely void of any parental resposibility in order to give the mom the right to name her spouse/partner title as a parent. Yes! I know it makes my shoulder blades touch too! But its really better to just swallow it down and get it over with its not a hidden agenda, she will compromise child support from the unmarried father but not the ones that had like been married and named father or the ones who signed a VAP. Right Julie? If they ever played the roll of father even if only on paper they are on the hook for support? I think she once said she’d have to work out the thing about the other guys not paying support or think about it. I’ve got my thinking cap on and I think Federal Aid to Mothers with Dependent Children is what Professor Shapiro has in mind to cover that. At least in the short term until some means of making an unmarried father who did not sign a VAP pay for the kid without any rights, possibly like damages. I am pretty sure all of the opinions posted here that seem sometimes disjointed or changeable are working toward a cogent and cohesive plan for arriving at that primary goal. Its all still a working theory, she’s hammering it out and we get to watch her do that. Its absolutely fascinating. On one hand it terrifies me on the other hand I love the law and I love solving puzzles and I find myself thinking about it from a tactical stand point just for the challenge of it because its so totally off the wall.

                  There is no way the Feds or States would go for a plan to get rid of child support from unwilling unmarried fathers – it was too hard fought and it would cost the country billions of dollars in welfare payments. The pay with no rights thing is ridiculous. There has to be a benefit statement for the government to even entertain changing the law it has to potentially save the government money from some angle or the proposal will stay scholarly and be nothing more than an interesting idea to talk about. Nobody’s life will change because it was written. That’s kind of sad, and kind of not all at the same time.

                  But then what do I know about this stuff
                  I’m a construction manager. I have no business even having an opinion on the subject. I need to mind my place. Its just interesting to me.

  8. John of course I’d be fine with everything you said other than messing with people’s right to be married in a normal civil ceremony which has no rules that would require a person to be a particular gender. But that is neither here nor there. My concern is that the one place a person could find their info out if they were lied to their whole life is the birth certificate, it should go way back all the way back the child should be the offspring of the people named as parents and anyone named as taking over for one of those parents should have that parent’s permission as well as the permission of the other parent who is not stepping down. Truth in origin, consent to transfer of custody, and acceptance of the parental roll. Then nobody is hiding and everyone can still get what they want. I only object to concealing it. People say they’ll tell the truth leave it up to the parents, we can’t leave something that important in the hands of whoever is taking care of the child they might not tell. It can’t be the governments responsibility to get involved and tell them. Imagine having to call and check with all those kids “hi just checking you know the guy who raised you is not your father right? Yes yes I know to you he’s your real father but you know that you are not relate4d to him? Ok great just checking! Have a nice day!” Just write the truth down and be done with it.

    I want to change the law too but I figured I’d have to help someone that was already doing it. You know stuff envelopes, get the word out that sort of thing. How close are you to actually changing the law are you an elected official or council person or senator or anything? You work in biotech. I’m just a regular person. My mom was a delagate in 1984 and I worked on lots of campaigns but I’m just slumming till i can find some group trying to pass a law and then offer to help/

    • So, you’d be fine with prohibiting people from trying to conceive offspring with someone of the same sex? Of course, the law would do more than just that, it would prohibit all tampering to make designer babies by male-female couples as well, and prohibit posthumous conception and human-animal conception, etc. It would prohibit creating a child by any means other than joining a living, identified man and a woman’s natural gametes. You are fine with that, even though it creates a difference in rights for both-sex and same-sex couples? I’ll assume yes, as long as same-sex couples are still allowed to marry. I think that’s your position?

      The trouble is, being allowed to conceive offspring together is the essential core right of marriage. So saying that a marriage can still be a marriage even though the couple is prohibited from attempting to create offspring together is a radical change to marriage. It’s a very dangerous precedent to start in this age of eugenic gamete donation, it could lead to people being screened and forced to use better genes if they have a gene for cancer or something. That’s just unsustainable, and unnecessary. And since they won’t have equal rights anyway, why fuss about giving them the same name? They should have different names if they have different rights. The right of every marriage to conceive offspring should not be thrown out just because we don’t want to offend gay people.

      Plus, if we don’t preserve marriage as a man and a woman, what do the Traditionalists get out of the compromise? They won’t sign on, and we are stuck with the status quo. They aren’t particularly concerned with ending genetic engineering or identifying sperm donors (in fact, they almost seem to be opposed, since it impacts their own power to do those things, enhance their offspring or pretend they are the parents.) All they want is to preserve marriage. At least my compromise would be principled, it wouldn’t just be inscribing animus in the law.

      • “So, you’d be fine with prohibiting people from trying to conceive offspring with someone of the same sex?”

        John
        Be fine with it? Well if I were not fine with it – it would not suddenly be possible. Its impossible for two people to have offspring together. There is no point in making a law to prohibit it because its impossible. Am I fine with prohibiting people of the same sex from pretending that the child grew out of the cabbage patch and has no father. You should not be able to step in and take over his roll without explaining for the record what the hell happened to him.

        • It’s possible, they’ve made both motherless and fatherless mice already, and research continues, some people want to try it. Anyhow, the law being proposed would ban a same sex couple from creating offspring, as a necessary effect of prohibiting genetic engineering, which would affect the future of same sex couples. Please answer again.

          • I guess my answer is, so long as its physically impossible I have no trouble with banning it. I am taking you seriously.

            If you wanted to ban research toward that end that would be a seperate issue but as far as prohibiting things I sort of stick to the realm of reality right now, its not possible so i have no problem with banning women from having women father their children.

            Tell me I was serious but if you were putting the caveat on women and women creating joint offspring would you also be banning other physically impossible senarios in opposite gender couples?

            • Here is the proposed lawl again:

              “1) Stop genetic engineering by limiting conception of children to the union of a natural sperm from one identified, living, adult man and a natural ovum from one identified, living, adult woman.”

              The other two laws in the Compromise would 2) give federal recognition to state CU’s that were defined as “marriage minus conception rights” and 3) guarantee the legal effect of marriage as approving and allowing the couple to conceive offspring together using their own genes.

              • So a man in a same sex marriage would not be allowed to father a child with a woman outside his marriage? How would that be fair to that child? That child could not have its father named on the birth certificate just because Dad was cheating on his same sex spouse with a female and got her pregnant? Why could they not split custody and his spouse would be the step parent, interestingly obligated to provide support should Daddy loose his job. How F-d is that but that is how it works.

                • Why couldn’t the father be named on his child’s birth certificate? The proposed laws are quite specific and limited, you seem to extrapolating them out in strange ways. Everything people do today would still be done, just as quasi-legally as it is today, except for anonymity, now that I’ve added it to the deal.

                  • marilynn huff

                    Your saying people in same sex marriages are not allowed to procreate. If you mean with each other are you just banning it for safety sake in case its ever possible? like a pre-emptive strike in case some day the technology would allow two males to create a baby with no female involved at all in the reproduction part or alternately no male involved at all in the reproduction?

                  • Yes, it’s stuff that is currently being worked on and contemplated, every six months or so there is another announcement of some lab making sperm or eggs from stem cells, or another lab making mice from two fathers or two mothers, and there are people called Transhumanists and Postgenderists, and (a few) gay people who are looking forward to the day when they can reproduce with a partner. It’s not as if I’m making this up or it is a hundred years away; they’re talking about it today and asking for the right today and working on the techniques today, and teaching kids that it might be possible for them today. It isn’t really a pre-emptive strike at something that doesn’t exist, it is a strike against something real, before we waste too much money and time and before anyone actually tries it.

          • Terminology question: what do “motherless” and “fatherless” mean here? Mice with no female/no male source for DNA? Mice with no social parent?

            As of now, all of us are composed of DNA some of which came from a man and some from a woman. The question is what legal rights we assign to those providers of DNA and (most important to me for further discussion) why we assign them those legal rights.

            • I’m talking about mice with two progenitors of the same sex. Motherless mice here, fatherless mice here.

              I don’t care how we assign legal guardians. I mean, don’t courts do that on a case by case basis? I do think that there should be an obligation and an expectation and a duty to care for your own offspring, and that children have a right and expectation to be raised by their true father and mother as much as is possible, together in a committed lifelong marriage, and that expectation should certainly not deliberately be broken in advance of conception. I think selling babies should be a crime, and giving up for adoption should be a tragic last resort, and parents should be helped to be able to care for their own kids. But sure, sometimes it’s better when they don’t.

              • Not to be coy, but it depends what you mean by “legal guardians.” Most people don’t have legal guardians–they have legal parents. Legal parentage is generally assigned by a set of rules and these rules vary state to state. It is not assigned case-by-case. Generally a woman who gives birth is presumed to be the legal mother of a child. This varies in some places where surrogacy is permitted. If a woman who gives birth is married, her husband is typically presumed to be the legal father of the child, and this presumption might be rebutted in different ways in different places. It’s a pretty complicated web of rules and there is a lot of interstate as well as international variation. Much has been discussed in numerous posts here. And truly, the assignment of legal parentage (which is to say, legal parental rights) is my main and ongoing concern in starting this blog.

                • Is there something that you feel needs to be changed about the way we assign legal parents?

                  (oh, and my comment might be in limbo, I think because of the links to the articles on mice. Did you read those? You understand what I’m talking about now?)

                  • At the moment the way we assign legal parentage varies a great deal depending on all sorts of things ranging from where you are (what state/what country) to whether you are married to how you concieved (via intercourse vs. via insemination). I don’t think this total patchwork approach is ideal so yes, I think we need a bit of change. Hence, the blog.

                    I did understand your earlier comment and it should show up now.)

                • It amazes me that you consider it even possible to change the entire kinship structure of our culture, by legal fiat.

                  • legal fiat? splain.

                  • sorry marilyn this comment was directed to julie.
                    fi·at (ft, -t, -ät, ft, -t)
                    n.
                    1. An arbitrary order or decree.
                    2. Authorization or sanction: government fiat.

            • We talk a bunch about how we assign those rights. You’ve shown me that in case law there has been much waivering on DNA – but after the fact, after the relationship is firmly or somewhat firmly established. You would like to use that as a prescident for saying well if it does not matter then it does not matter, your unfairly excluding me based on a dna thing you said plain as day does not matter over here for this guy and that girl why does it have to matter for me right here right now. Yes. killer argument – were it not for the money that the state and government would have to pay you might have a shot at the whole equal treatment thing, but cash is king. You may be underestimating the number of unmarried men who did not initially want to pay child support for their children. Its a whole friggen lot of men. You’ll have to address that its the thing you are not able to argue out also. The whole “its a matter of opinion” thing does not fly when it comes to those kids having to receive welfare if the unmarried fathers loose their rights. The government does not just do things to liberate people and their rigts not easily anyway – Remember the ADA thing in the 80″s every curb in america needs a curb cut? Every bathroom has to be handicapped accessible? Well at least there was construction money to be made on the construction end of things so there could be kickbacks…there is not even any opportunity for graft in this situation of yours about taking away their parental authority.

  9. Julie
    When a woman is not in a relationship with a man, but wants to have a baby and raise that baby either alone or with her female partner she should be able to provide proof of his permission to the State in order for her to be allowed to name someone else. My concern with your outright rejection that all children have fathers is that men might loose their children if they want to raise them and the mother prefers not to have them involved. Those men were collateral damage to in taking your position, but it occurs to me that you might not be so hard hearted after all. Was the reason you took such a hard line against having to get the fathers permission because in most cases your concerned with the father is anonymous and there would be nobody to sign anything to allow her partner to take over?
    DNA certainly matters all children have fathers and all fathers must have the right of first refusal if I can be so ….contractual about it. It really would be a far more ethical way to go about taking over someone’s parental responsibilities, with their full permission. Could’nt everyone feel good about that?

    • men who want to raise their children are collateral damage as marilyn says.
      and so are thousands of children who would be fatherless. and most of them will not have a devoted step parent to pick up the slack and love them like their own
      thats a lot of collateral damage for the sake of… for the sake of what???

  10. “It would prohibit creating a child by any means other than joining a living, identified man and a woman’s natural gametes. ”

    I’m trying out dropping all the sperm egg gamete insanity because its fertility industry jargon intended to make us forget the human beings. So let me rephrase what you just said
    Well my mother’s father died before she was born, and women die in child birth. Of course those are accidents. Its as much deliberate orphan making as the rest of it. My primary concern would be telling the child the identity of the dead parent and giving them access to the rest of their family but – I could get on board with banning it maybe just because its gross. Sure.

    “You are fine with that, even though it creates a difference in rights for both-sex and same-sex couples?”It does not create a difference in rights between same sex and opposite sex couples. Its not a discriminatory policy John sorry to burst your bubble. Individuals reproduce themselves with members of the opposite sex. All people are free to reproduce if they can and can find a person of the opposite sex to reproduce with. Lesbians can choose to have men father their children through insemination rather than sexual contact but its not like another female will ever be equipt to do that or she’d be male and then lesbian #1 would be straight.

    Yes I’m fine with it it does not discriminate, Marriage has no reproductive rights. Its stupid that yall keep hanging on to that when there is no proof but go on if it works for you.

    I’ll assume yes, as long as same-sex couples are still allowed to marry. I think that’s your position?

    • Me:“It would prohibit creating a child by any means other than joining a living, identified man and a woman’s natural gametes. ”

      Marilynn: “I’m trying out dropping all the sperm egg gamete insanity because its fertility industry jargon intended to make us forget the human beings. So let me rephrase what you just said”

      I like that idea. Here it is rephrased without jargon: “It would prohibit creating a child unnaturally.”

    • “It does not create a difference in rights between same sex and opposite sex couples.”

      Sure it does. After the law, I would be allowed to create a child with a woman but prohibited from attempting to create a child with a man. Right now, there is no law, and I am allowed to create a child with either sex equally.

  11. Yes John Allow same sex couples to get married and go ahead and ban their right to reproduce together.

    What have you accomplished there. You just banned something they could not do in the first place. While your at it would you mind banning steril men from reproducing with their wives? And barren women from reproducing with potent husbands? Oh and sterile husbands from procreating with their barren wives. If you are banning the impossible lets cover all the bases. Oh but make it possible for fertile women and potent men to have children even if the fertile woman can’t carry the child to term herself..incubator or gestational surrogate ok? I’m just throwing that in because that I’m cool with

    • But the law wouldn’t affect infertile couples, they still have the right to reproduce, they just won’t. That’s different from being prohibited from reproducing. Medicine might be able to help sterile people get fertile again anyhow, which, even though it is unnecessary, is obviously a right everyone has.

      Yes, it bans something that same-sex couples can’t do and probably never will be able to do. But it also means that schools can’t teach kids that they might be able to do it someday (which some kids are indeed taught), and it establishes a difference in rights that makes CU’s constitutionally possible and politically viable.

      I think we should ban artificial wombs and surrogacy too, but those aren’t parts of the compromise I’ve proposed. Those are inhumane experiments, unfair to the person being created. There is no right to intentionally create people at all, and there is no harm if people are prohibited from intentionally creating people using technology. It is a waste of energy and money and diverts attention away from actual suffering and future needs.

  12. Really I had no idea that the right to reproduce is why people were against same sex marriage. Oh I’m quite sure that same sex couples would be willing to concede to the caveat in the law that says but same sex couples are not allowed to reproduce resulting in the birth of shared offspring.

    • It’s pretty much only me who is opposed to same-sex marriage because it gives the equal right to reproduce to same-sex couples. (Margaret Somerville is perhaps the only other person who has expressed this objection, and even she did it more indirectly, just predicting that SSM will be used to fight a ban on genetic engineering in the future). The rest of the opponents seem to have different and varied reasons, often religious or social-norm based, usually citing the need to preserve the institution. That’s why they won’t be happy with same-sex marriage even if there is such a caveat on it. They want to preserve marriage, and end same-sex marriage. I want to preserve marriage to, but in a slightly different way: I want to preserve its right to conceive offspring using the couple’s own genes. So I won’t accept that caveat either, it destroys marriage.

      And I agree that 99% of same-sex couples aren’t interested in same-sex reproduction and would concede such a caveat in exchange for the other protections of marriage. However, in six years of proposing this idea, I haven’t yet encountered any activists who have been willing to concede such a caveat, for example Sean and Mark at Ruthblog, and Galois and Ampersand and John Culhane and John Corvino and Jonathan Rauch, all insist that same-sex couples should have the right to reproduce if they want to try it. I think they realize that conceding any difference in rights would blow their case to smithereens, especially if they concede the essential core right of marriage, that no marriage has ever been prohibited from doing since marriage was invented. So they choose to demand a general right to reproduce with someone of the same sex, even though it might never be possible. They sometimes suggest that it could be banned until it is safe, but that means we have to work to make it safe, and test and research with fetuses and animals, and it’s just a huge waste of money and energy, just to support a bad idea: that two men can make a baby just like a man and a woman can. They have to admit that the idea is a bad one, and yet Transhumanism is a hard habit to break. They have so much invested in their fantasies, they’ve been living their whole lives as if it will, it must, come true some day. They’ll have to buy new clothes and everything, start living boring lives resigned to staying on this earth in a sustainable manner, instead of investing some new world to blast off to.

  13. Oh my comments are getting deleted at LIGHTENING speed on family scholars. There are all kinds of things I’m not allowed to say aparently. It had not occurred to me that websites are private and the owners of those are free to not allow free speech.

    Thank you Professor Shapiro for never deleting anything I’ve said. Although there are many things I’d go back and delete myself if I had the keys to the car.

    John your not as right wing as the two over there right now arguing with Nobody-Really, who, I’ve decided is not Julie, he’s one step closer to middle ground. What caveat won’t you accept? The one where I said sterile/infertile people should also not be allowed to reproduce?

    • The caveat I won’t accept is to say same-sex couples can have marriages with a caveat that they prohibited from procreating offspring together. I object to introducing that caveat in to marriage for any couples. Even if it is explicit that it applies only to same-sex marriages, it is a bad precedent, it could later be applied to couples with low IQ or a gene for breast cancer or anything. I think we should have CU’s that are marriage with that caveat, so that marriage can continue to be guaranteed the right to try to make offspring using their own genes.
      And also I don’t accept that sterile people should not be allowed to reproduce, I think they should indeed be allowed to try and be given all the benefits and protections of couples that are allowed to reproduce.

      • marilynn huff

        if sterile people try to conceive and then succeed it means they are not sterile.

        • Right. That’s why they should be allowed to try, and not be classified into some category that isn’t allowed to try. Everyone should have an equal right to try to procreate, but only with someone of the other sex, using their own unmodified gametes. Some people won’t be able to even if they try. The right is not a guarantee to have children created, it is simply a right to do things that might result in children being created, specifically intercourse, but in the case of same-sex marriages, it would be a right to lab-created gametes or whatever else is necessary.

          • Wow John this is all so over my head. I just want every person to identified as the genetic offspring of the parents who reproduced to create them. The law should prohibit parental anonymity in all its forms its abandonment, its yellow. It tastes like chicken to me.

            • Don’t you also want to help same-sex couples and their families? We can come together to get a law enacted that would do all the things we need, including ending anonymity and lying on birth records, and stopping designer babies and genetic engineering, and getting equal benefits and protections and recognition to same-sex couples in CU’s defined as ‘marriage minus conception rights.’

              It needs to be enacted ASAP, every day there are people being created with false records, there are children without security, etc…please don’t relent, its time to join together and push for sweeping changes.

    • I actually didn’t realize Family Scholars deleted comments like that. I’m content to let things go monitoring only for civility (and the occasional advertisment–I don’t post those, either.)

      • I am very bent out of shape over a conversation over there about moderation!!!!
        Julie doesn’t comment at family scholars for all who were wondering.
        There’s nobody there with her writing style.
        For what? She doens’t need to, she has her own blog.

      • You rock. I’ve learned an awfle lot from you. Light years ahead of where I was when I came into this little class room a year ago.
        I find that website very interesting as there are many people scouring for articles and posting them. Its like if you had no children or home life or job etc. There are many prohibited words that are not swear words. Also I think I got so upset about some of the more homophobic content land allow no comments on the more conservative ones. I love the nod to biological reality though. I’m cruising for a bruising like Mr. Howard over there. 😉 by using words like discriminatory, bigotry, segregation, exclusionary, any word that means discrimination is not allowed its abusive. I’m licking my wounds hurts like hell to get beat with a cross.

    • I’m very curious to hear your comments that are being deleted Marilyn. Can you please send them to me at walla dot com? Thanks

      • I do not have them they are gone forever. I’m in communication with FS off line, since I got asked to come check the blog out and comment I did not find my way there by wandering. I’m trying to follow the rules. I think its not just specific words its entire thoughts. Its not working for me to use different words to describe the same thing. I think my views allign very closely w/ FS on issues related specifically to parentage but they’d maybe prefer if I did not talk about marriage. I’m also struggling with some of the stuff on Divorce and single parenthood. I like their website very much. I try to be polite. I’m trying to learn not to be so obnoxious when I write. I remember this is my problem in communicating.

        • there are plenty people there more obnoxious than you.

        • there are plenty people there more obnoxious than you.
          They do not moderate fairly and they don’t try to.
          Now I see they specifically recruit some folks to comment on their blog.
          (All though I kinda new this from before from the donor kids study)
          This is similar to Ms. Marquardt quoting her acttivist colleagues in her study as if they were her research subjects.
          Sorry Julie for messing up your blog with complaints about FS.

          • I confess to being hopelessly naive. I was going to say “why would you exclude comments from people who disagree with you, as long as they are reasonably civil and all that stuff?” But I guess I know the answer–it’s about controlling the message.

            I’ve never believed that its effective to silence or exclude people you disagree with. Far better to enter into dialog, in my view. I just hope I’m right. After all, no one knows about the comments you won’t post, so the front you present to the world may look like it’s the product of an open discussion. Live and learn?

            • It’s not necessarily that poeple are trying to censor a particiular point of view (although it m ay be…), it’s just that when a moderator is allowed to censoer all posts that are “offensive” and offensive is in the eyes of the beholder.
              Hopefully a moderator would have both enough of a commitment to fairness as well as training in objectivity to offset that but I don’t see that happening. Most of the contributors aren’t too scholarly either, despite the name, let alone to be treained in objectivity.

  14. Well John
    Individuals can reproduce freely with any willing member of the opposite sex. If a potent man has an infertile wife, he can still reproduce and have children, only not with his wife, with some other random woman. If he wants he can even father some other woman’s child and have their child’s embryo inplanted in his wife’s womb so that she can experience giving birth to his child. The fact that she gave birth does not mean she reproduced and the thing I think ought to be illegal is for her to be named as mother on the birth certificate. I don’t think the right to privacy should include the right to lie to the state or to the child. I think every embryo should have parents identified and that when an embryo is emplanted in a woman like if that woman ever shows up and tries to register that she is the mother of a child born within two years of the date the embryo was implanted she’s got to do a DNA test to confirm it.

  15. I’ve been out of the loop for a while–it’s that end of the semester thing.

    It’s interesting to see how far this discussion has travelled. I don’t really understand the insistence on natural reproduction only. Why does that make sense? In general we recognize the utility of medical technologies as a way to improve the human condition. (I’m thinking here of fighting disease/infection, say, or surgery to correct various conditions.) Why reject it out of hand here? This is not to say that every use of it is okay, by the way. I just think we need to consider specific cases.

    I think I have come to understand how important genetic linkages are to some people. While I don’t this is natural and necessary (as gravity is natural and necesary–something we do not create) I can certainly see that it is real (as in it matters a lot to some people). This might lead to the conclusion that it should be taken into account (by allowing people access to the information about where the genetic material came from). But it does not lead me to the conlusion that the identified people should be the presumed legal parents of the child. I’d rather orient things towards a care-based ethic. Which takes me back to the main post here.

    • You make it seem like I’m trying to ban all technology and medicine. No, the proposals are merely to stop genetic engineering, creating people by any means other than joining a man’s natural sperm and a woman’s natural egg. Everyone should be created equal, as the child of a mother and father. That’s a very clear place to draw a line. Crossing that line would be a huge boondoggle, expensive and wasteful and unnecessary, and lead to a loss of reproductive rights, eugenic screenings, enforced enhancements, etc.

      Perhaps you should start advocating adoption as a much better option to intentionally creating a new person using one’s own genes. There are lots of kids who need adopting, but you seem to be going out of your way to insist that new kids should be created with some DNA connection.

      • I can understand concern about genetic engineering, and I appreciate that you’ve found a place to draw a line that is simple–no intervention of any kind? But why draw the line there apart from simplicity? As I recall (and forgive me if I am wrong here) you would forbid screening a wife’s eggs before fertilizing them with her husband’s sperm in order to eliminate those that result in severe genetic birth defects. Is this because once we allow this we are on what is often called “a slippery slope” and we will inevitably end up with all forms of genetic engineering? I don’t agree that we would be unable to draw lines to prevent this and I think the ability to screen the eggs as describe above is useful and should be available.

        I’m actually not a DNA person at all. That’s why I think it is okay for a woman who wants to be pregnant/give birth to go out and buy sperm with no rights at all to the provider of the sperm. Maybe what you are referring to is my willingness to indulge the desire of that woman to be pregnant/give birth, though. I could think more about that, but I suspect it is an instinct to let people make their own choices where that’s feasible.

        • Yeah, it seems that most IVF and surrogacy is an attempt to have a child with a genetic relationship, though I understand that is mainly because it is cheaper and easier than adoption and there’s less chance of a difficult child, and less feeling that the child isn’t your own. It has different parents, and it may want to leave you and bond with them.

          As to screening eggs, it’s like surrogacy and use of donor gametes, they would stay legal because they still join a man and a woman’s natural gametes, even though, yeah, I think all intentional procreation is wrong and should be prohibited. Ideally the line would be at natural married coitus, but there are probably too many people who would object to that, and there’d be no way to stop it anyhow. So it’s just not a sensible goal, not when it’s so much more important to stop the genetic modification stuff. So let’s start with the line where it is right now, where everything people currently do, tbey are allowed to still do, and everything people can’t do (GE, same-sex procreation, etc) they aren’t allowed to do.

          • Way to pick your battles buddy. Good going. I do despise political compromise, but if you feel passionately that there are people truly harmed by something that could be prevented if it were unbundled from other demands or at least differently bundled.

            All of the friends who’ve asked me for help locating their family members had falsified birth records and then all of the strangers I have helped had the same thing happen to their records. Its always people who love the children most that alter the records and marshal the children toward adulthood down a crooked path paved with good intentions.

            So for me making sure that nobody is ever named as the parent on a birth record unless the child is their own biological offspring is key to stopping the proliferation of lies that put people in a position to need my help in the first place. I could care less who all else gets put on that document in a parental capacity so long as the parent knows and consents to the transfer of authority and its crystal clear that the child is not the offspring of the party assuming responsibility. I don’t care if that person is from Mars as long as its written down somewhere besides the fertility clinic or in someones home files.

            Every person I have helped has been told their records burned in a fire 20 years earlier. I mean every person is told some variation of that story its ironic at first but after a while it started to really piss me off. Its just not right. It was not fair and I decided I’d do something about it before I die. I’ve got at least 30 years left, it could happen.

    • What about chain of custody? If we start at the very begining and get consent all the way through then there is no problem. Also I’ve had some revelations lately about the flow of medical/physical/growth development information from birth to 18 being relevant to children commercially created and to the commercial creator and to the commercial creators family (thats not a whole lot better than donor huh?) anyway I think they should be more obligated than now to maintain ongoing communication with the people raising the child back and forth through an intermediary if need be but also with the physician that arranged the conception. Think about the woman who goes to get inseminated – she should be asking how many men have been inseminated with his sperm? How many pregnancies resulted? Whats that ratio am I wasting my money there? Of the pregancies how many live births were there? 17 Pregnancies / 10 births? What’s going on there? Does that guy know? He might have some kind of problem to check out. Maybe pick a different guy if your spending a bunch of money on this treatment, seems like you’d want the Doctor to have some stats on that sort of thing. Were those 10 children healthy at birth? 1 or 2 have physical or mental disabilities? Does he know? Maybe he ought to seems like that’s part of his medical history his own doctor should know about. Seems like something her doctor should know about before filling her cavaties with his sperm. And at the end of the first year did they follow up with the children was their health and development normal were they all on target? Were there any significant delays that resonate across the remaining 8? If there were would’nt that be something he’d want to know about? Would’nt it be something the doctor should be keeping track of if he’s going to continue to market that man’s offspring to customers? Why is everyone flying blind as if there were no information to work with when there is. Where are all of his children living – can the doctor give the cities where each child was said to live as of last year? Certainly its something he should know about if he’s going to be raising children in the same town. If he has 15 children within 10 milse of the clinic someone might select a different man, if those 15 kids were all living out of state, they might be ok with it. Are the mothers of his other children willing to be in contact with the clinic and with each other and with him if something major comes up or once a year if nothing unusual comes up before then?

      Can you see where the growth and development of a large group of siblings would be relevant to the reproductive choices made by absent father, might be relevant to the business choices made by the clinic, the lifestyle choices made by the would be mother or the daily choices made when a woman is a mother, some symptom suddenly appears that had warning signs she would have seen if she were looking for them. Mom’s usually apply what they learn on one kid to all their other kids. When each sibling is raised by a different mother, to be equal to the level of protection they’d have from one mom managing all their little lives, all of the mothers would have to be in communication. Not doing it is sort of the same as not wearing a seatbelt. Everything will probably be fine unless you get hit and your kid dies. I have never heard the need for medical information framed in a way that shows its impact on the absent parent or on the parent raising the child or on absent siblings. I think its a much more tangable explaination of why our relatives are more than interesting. Being cut off from relatives is likely to affect many people. I think that could be managed by making men more accountable even when someone takes over their legal parental obligations i think they should still have obligations to the child they brought into the world to make sure they know when brothers and sisters are born and what cities they live in stuff like that. I think it could be called reckless to withold information that might be relevant to the health and welfare of a child. If the information is available to make yourself deliberately ignorant of it, seems shortsighted. I spent a lot of time thinking this through and I would appreciate your feed back.. Thank you.

  16. legal fiat!
    fiat!
    love it.
    I manufacture a conversation just so i can say that out loud in front of people.

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