Do we need Fathers

11 04 2008

A London Times article yesterday highlighted Britain’s thinking in response to legislative proposals over the suitability of single women and lesbians as IVF mothers. The discussion that follows is nothing to do with single women or lesbians, as such; it is about fathers.

The question is ultimately do we want to allow or even encourage IVF treatment for women without a man to act as a father to the eventual child? There has been a proposal to change the requirement that fertility clinics consider a child’s need for a father before treating patients to a “need for supportive parenting”.

The results of a poll suggested the following:

  • public opinion as a whole is opposed to the proposal
  • over-55s are strongly against the plans, with 50 per cent saying the law should not be changed and 19 per in favour
  • among young people, however, the findings are reversed.

As a Law lecturer for a number of years (seventeen to be precise) I observed over that period, which was from the 1970’s into the 1990’s, a gradual change from classes where the vast majority believed in absolutes in morals to classes where the vast majority didn’t believe there were absolutes. My suggestion is that the older generation still has echoes of specific values while the younger generation has been taught to believe that values are flexible and you go for what you want.

Another article today about the ongoing dissecting of the family life of the girl, Shannon Matthews, who had been abducted and then found, commented as follows:

“Yet the interest is still not in Shannon, quietly shut away with social services. Instead, pulling apart her “complicated” family life has become a national pastime. It is as if ogling their ghastliness is a way to remind yourself that you are decent. Never mind that many of us might no longer be sure of right or wrong in relation to parenting or sex. At least we know we are not a moral degenerate like her – Shannon‘s mum, who supposedly calls two of her children “twins” because they have the same father.”

I have highlighted the intriguing sentence about our general uncertainty about rights and wrongs of parenting etc. What was also interesting was the comment that followed which suggests that however ‘liberal’ we may be, we still do hold onto some values. This is the great deception of the “Believe what you like” philosophy because even those who espouse it – don’t, when it comes to their own self preservation.
What is also interesting about the ‘father debate’ is the ignoring of what I had assumed was now well and truly accepted research that children without a father there for them suffered.

In 2002, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society produced a document called “The Fatherless Family” which concluded the following:

Children living without their biological fathers

  • Are more likely to live in poverty and deprivation
  • Have more trouble in school
  • Tend to have more trouble getting along with others
  • Have higher risk of health problems
  • Are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
  • Are more likely to run away from home

Teenagers living without their biological fathers

  • Are more likely to experience problems with sexual health
  • Are more likely to become teenage parents
  • Are more likely to offend
  • Are more likely to smoke
  • Are more likely to drink alcohol
  • Are more likely to take drugs
  • Are more likely to play truant from school
  • Are more likely to be excluded from school
  • Are more likely to leave school at 16
  • Are more likely to have adjustment problems

Young adults who grew up not living with their biological fathers

  • Are less likely to attain qualifications
  • Are more likely to experience unemployment
  • Are more likely to have low incomes
  • Are more likely be on income support
  • Are more likely to experience homelessness
  • Are more likely to be caught offending and go to jail
  • Are more likely to suffer from long term emotional and psychological problems
  • Are more likely to develop health problems
  • Tend to enter partnerships earlier and more often as a cohabitation
  • Are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions
  • Are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership

This rather speaks for itself.




One response

12 12 2008
ISP Filter or Censorship? | Atheist Age

[…] welfare system mankind has ever devised”, may have been receptive to the soft end of the divisive family value meme or it’s cousin, the appalling new ’science’ of homophobia. Having written […]

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