Thursday, May 18, 2017

WHAT ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD?

On May 10, in Guam Daily Post, Attorney Bill Pesch accused Department of Public Health Director, James Gillan, of making “bogus” statements and of perpetrating “absolute nonsense.” 

The “absolute nonsense,” according to Pesch, is Gillan’s claim that Guam law prevents the Director of Public Health from modifying a birth certificate to include the name of a lesbian parent as “father.” 

Pesch states that he is “not familiar with any law that says the legislature is responsible for designing birth certificates,” and claims that Gillan has the authority to modify the certificate.

However, the next day, in another publication, Pesch is quoted as saying: “

“Other states have laws which consider family dynamics of similarly situated same-sex parents, but Guam doesn’t. And that’s what Guam needs to do…When it comes to surrogacy, we’re definitely behind other jurisdictions in the United States.”

What a difference a day makes. One day Pesch is claiming that there is no such law, and the next day he is demanding that Guam law catch up with the rest of the country. 

But beyond this absurdity is the even more absurd: A lawyer demanding that a public official not comply with the law on the puerile basis that said lawyer is “sick and tired” of something he doesn’t like.

The fact is that Guam law clearly requires the full birth name of the father of the child on the birth certificate. 

That the law assumes the term “father” to be the natural father is not in question since in the absence of the natural father, the mother has the right to name him, whereupon he may be required to submit to a blood test to determine whether he is in fact “the natural father of the child.” (Other provisions are made for when the father is not known or named.)

What Pesch really wants (in addition to the forcing of public officials to break the law) is a complete overhaul of a definition of terms in the name of “gender neutrality.” 

Fine, but then we must also get rid of the words like “mother” as well as the sex of the child, since - following Pesch’s logic - defining a child as male or female at birth is apparently “prejudice,” and he’s “sick and tired” of that. 

What is lost in all this “rights” talk is the rights of the child. Does a child have a right to know its biological parents? Does a child have a right to a mother and a father (assuming the natural definitions)? 

As recently as 1989, the United Nations said “Yes.” The child has “the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.” (Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7.) 

Reading the rest of the document there is no question that the UN’s definition of “parent” is “natural parent,” noting that sometimes adoption and foster care are necessary when a “child temporarily or permanently is deprived of his or her family.” 

Further, many diseases and their cures are now traced to genetics. Does a child have a right at some point in his or her life to know the roots of his or her genetic makeup? i.e. his or her natural parents? Where would that be recorded? 

In the mad embrace of adult rights there is no room for the rights of the child. How sad. How sadder still that many may suffer illness or disease needlessly because people like Bill Pesch helped to make it impossible for them to know where they came from. 

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