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Keeping Mum: The Woman Who Won the Right to Keep Her Baby a Secret

By Michelle Duffy     Nov 26, 2007 in Health
A mother has won the right to keep the birth and identity of her child safe from the father who's baby was the result of a one night stand. The new decision has raised many eyebrows in the activists camp, Fathers For Justice
The woman, who is only 20 years old has won her right to remain silent over the birth and future identity of herself and her baby after she conceived after a one night stand.
The Court of Appeal has heard this week that the woman had been forced by the local county court to tell both her parents about the child as well as the father. She disagreed with the ruling and took it to the Court of Appeal, where she has won the right to keep the secret.
It took three judges at the Court to come to the decision of allowing the young woman to remain silent over the birth and the rest of the child's life, although the result of the Appeal has left many a bitter taste in the mouth, more so, amongst the group campaigning for the rights of natural fathers, Fathers For Justice.
A spokesperson for the group which has made headlines in the past for conducting inconsiderate public displays of bad behaviour including throwing items in the House of Commons at MP's, have said that they feel that the ruling will only give the mother the right to label the child as her "property" and allowing her also to "dispose of the child as she sees fit," since she had wished for the child to be adopted.
The woman, who will continue to remain anonymous for legal reasons has kept the pregnancy secret from her own family ( her divorced parents) as well as the father.
The birth of her child was 19 weeks ago and before that, the woman had said that she had wanted the baby girl adopted at birth, keeping the adoption secret from the father and her family. The woman had been living on her own when she became pregnant at the age of 19.
The C of A also agreed that the woman's family were not to meet the girl to make sure they were to go through the proper procedure if they should wish to be assessed as "potential carers" for the child.
The judge, Lady Justice Arden told the court that she did not think that the father's rights had been ignored as she didn't agree that the father actually had any.
This decision has angered Fathers For Justice. One of their spokesmen, Michael Cox, told reporters:"It is now clear that the Government believes children have no entitlement to a relationship with their fathers."
In the same vein, John Baker, who is the chairman of a similar group, Families Need Fathers, also said:"It treats the child as the property of the mother, to be disposed of as she sees fit."
He also noted that since the bill which should have come into play, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which may also, in future reserve the need to recognize the father in IVF clinics, will give mothers the right to not tell the father about anything she does from conception onwards.
Michale Cox of F4J 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."Yet the judge who ruled against the right to inform the father at the Court of Appeal 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."
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