Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dr. Phil covers Putative Father Registry laws


Dr. Phil today hosted a program about a case involving a relatively little known issue, the Putative Father Registry laws in 25 states. The specific case on the show had occurred in Oregon. The man was fifteen years older than the woman, who had been 19 as of the time of pregnancy, so the actual event was lawful. However, the woman decided to give up the baby for adoption without the man’s consent. In Oregon, as in many other states, a man who suspects he may have caused a pregnancy must create an entry on the Putative Father Registry and contribute contingent financial support for some period of time, often twelve months, to claim parental rights. Even if he did not claim parental rights, he could be pursued for child support later in life in a “deadbeat dad” situation. But these laws, as they stand, simply make it easier for the mother to control the placement of the child regardless of the father’s wishes. One problem is that few men know about these laws.

The link is here and the link gives sublinks to panels that discuss the problem in detail. Mel Feit, from the National Center for Men, suggested that states change public policy to require notification of men, and proper determination of parental rights and responsibilities in family court by a judge. In the particular case, the man’s mother screamed that she had been denied the right to have contact with her “own flesh and blood,” her granddaughter.

Visitors will want to look at the website of the National Center for Men, here. Some important quotes: “Men die about eight years earlier than women …. When it comes to unwanted, unborn children, men have responsibilities without rights …. Social custom still requires men to do most of the work of initiating new sexual relationships. The woman is the sexual celebrity, the man the sexual supplicant. …In many ways women receive special privilege and protection while male pain and suffering are trivialized or ignored by our society. Men and women who dare to speak out for fairness and equality are often ridiculed or censored into silence.”

All of this rings true. Gay men are resented for refusing to participate in this “game.” Even conservative writer George Gilder wrote, in his 1986 book “Sexual Suicide,” about the innate sexual superiority of women to men. In 1993, psychologist Warren Farrell authored “The Myth of Male Power.” On Nightline Monday, there was a report that men would become extinct in 125000 years and that women could reproduce without them. No wonder, then, that some religious cultures (such as much of Islam) are so protective of “male power.”

On the show, Dr. Phil sounded sympathetic to the need to repeal Putative Father Registry laws.

This show reminds me of another potential legal time bomb in many states, filial responsibility laws, which can affect people who have never procreated children (perhaps disproportionately). I wrote about these on my retirement blog here.
I wonder what Dr. Phil would think of filial responsibility laws, but he has never done a show on the issue to my knowledge. I wonder what the National Center for Men would think, too.

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