I must admit that one of my guilty pleasures on a rare day off from work is watching The Maury Povich Show. On any – okay, mostly every – given day, the topic of his show revolves around paternity tests. For some reason it just never gets old and sadly enough, most viewers are hanging on the edge of their seat waiting for those five words to be uttered: “You are NOT the father!”
I’m not sure why, but it seems to me (and I could be wrong) that the audience doesn’t want the man to be the father. I guess it just makes for more dramatic television to watch a woman running to the back room ‘shamed and shocked that the no-good, triflin’ deadbeat man she’s painted the poor dude out to be actually isn’t the father. The man is “high-fiving” the men in the audience while doing back flips and we feel happy for him that he isn’t stuck taking care of someone else’s kid.
That being said, you’d think with all the family court cases and hundreds of Maury episodes dedicated to this topic that paternity testing would be mandatory at birth. Clearly men and women cheat, so it would make sense that many of these episodes of Maury would be avoided if they simply did paternity testing as soon as Junior pops out. If you’re unmarried, some argue that paternity testing at birth should just be a given. This way, if things go sour in the relationship, the father can’t run from his responsibilities as a father. On the flip side, if the woman was the one having unprotected sex with more than one man at a time, then she can’t wrongfully pin child support on the wrong guy.
It’s unfortunate, but men have very little reproductive rights in this country. They can’t make a woman have a baby if she doesn’t want one. It’s her body, I get it. But when it comes to a child actually being born, there should be some measures in place that would keep dishonest mothers from committing paternity fraud. After all, if a man learns that a child isn’t his after he’s been paying child support for 18 years, he doesn’t get his money back and there is no penalty paid by the deceptive mother. She is absolved of all wrongdoing and the most a man can hope for is that she’s a bit remorseful.
Now, I know that some women might be offended that they’d even be required to subject their child to such testing. Others may feel the test forces them to admit to their man at the beginning of a pregnancy that there’s a chance the baby might not be his resulting in the man refusing to be there for her during her pregnancy until the baby is born. This one test could cause a rift in an otherwise “happy” home.
But shouldn’t these conversations be happening anyway? Shouldn’t a woman put her big girl panties on and be mature and selfless enough to tell a man – or men – that she’s keeping the baby, but she’s not quite sure who the father is? Doesn’t the man have the right to know? More importantly, doesn’t the child have the right to know his biological father?
If you’re an honest woman, mandatory paternity testing at birth shouldn’t faze you. As I approach my 9th month of pregnancy, I wouldn’t have any problem agreeing to this test if my husband requested it. I wouldn’t even be offended, because I have nothing to hide.
At the end of the day, women know the child is theirs because it came out of her body – it doesn’t matter who the kid looks like. But for a man, it’s not always so cut and dry and you know what they say, “Mama’s baby, daddy’s maybe.” That just doesn’t seem right or fair to me.
What do you think – should paternity testing be made mandatory?