I am opposed to any policy or program that increases the odds that a child will not have a relationship with their biological father as they grow up. This would include anything that makes it easier for parents to divorce or that facilitates single motherhood. Consequently, I oppose premarital sex, abortion, sex education in schools, no-fault divorce, and giving legal recognition to cohabitation or same-sex marriage. I want children to be able to have their biological father and biological mother close at hand, and to be able to rely on them and know them, so that they don’t feel alone and lost in the world. Although I am willing to permit other arrangements, I think society should celebrate traditional marriage – for the sake of the children.
Well, consider one challenge to this ideal situation where a child grows up with a mother and a father: conception via anonymous sperm donor.
Here’s a video that shows how children are hurt when they are denied a relationship with their biological father: (H/T Stacy McCain)
Robert Stacy McCain writes this:
The practice of anonymous sperm donors, and children fathered by them, is certainly legal and has a market. That would lead one to conclude that it is ethical, rather than unethical. In other words I’d say ethical means ‘not illegal’.
But is it moral? […]That is, does anyone think that the Almighty is pleased, and/or glorified by people thumbing their noses at the clear, simple, obvious, form-follows-function beauty of:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Gen 2:24
There is vast capacity to use modern technology to tinker about with the natural order of things. I’d like to fall short of a sweeping judgement here, in the space of a blog post. It’s possible that there may exist a really good case for why using an anonymous sperm donor is not immoral. But it seems that protecting the father’s (or the mother’s in the case of an egg donor) privacy at the expense of dropping a sizable existential dilemma on the offspring is immoral. That is, the biological parents (i.e. DNA providers) are doing to the child emotionally what the government is doing economically: casting debts upon them without any sort of dialogue. A variation on taxation without representation, if you will. Progressivism seems to be about finding the least vocal victim.
I don’t think that it’s enough for the child to just know who their biological father is, or to just see a picture of their biological father. I think it’s important that we promote the best situation for children, where each child has a real relationship with their biological father. And we can do that, if we are serious, in several ways.
Here are few wild, shoot-from-the-hip ideas to help children to have access to their fathers:
- We can research how fatherlessness affects children
- We can research what decisions are likely to lead to stable marriage, e.g. – regular church attendance and chastity
- We can repeal laws that are hostile to lasting marriage, e.g. – no-fault divorce
- We can enact laws that are hostile to divorce, e.g. – shared custody laws
- We can stop paying unmarried women to have babies
- We can give tax deductions to married couples who have babies
- We can give tax deductions to couples planning on marrying if they undergo marital counseling from a program of their own choosing
- We can give tax deductions to married couples whose children earn incomes, e.g. – the parents get a tax deduction for 1% of income earned by each child for life
- We can give tax deductions to married couples whose children don’t collect government assistance, e.g. – the parents get a 1% tax deduction on their household income for every child who doesn’t collect government welfare during the year
- We ban IVF for women who have not been married for at least 5 years
- We ban all taxpayer funding of IVF treatments
- We ban ban all private insurance coverage for IVF treatments
And so on, like that. This communicates to women that it is not OK to have a baby with an anonymous sperm donor. It communicates that we as a society want fathers to be around their children. It communicates that cohabitation is not the same thing as marriage. It communicates that marriages are for life. We need to get tough if we want children to be spared from the harm of not knowing their biological fathers.