Jane Doe and John Doe live in Calgary as common- law partners.  She wanted to have a child. He did not.   So she sought a sperm donor and the child was born in August, 2005.  The couple wrote a contract clearing John Doe of any legal responsibility for the child and they went to court to make sure their agreement was legal.

     At every level the Alberta courts rejected their agreement.  Instead the courts focussed on the rights of the child and concluded that John Doe, by choosing to remain in a live-in relationship with the child’s mother, could not dodge parental responsilities toward a child lving under the same roof.  Last week the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

          Many observers condemned the courts for failing to side with single mothers in their quest to be free of state interference in deciding whether to parent on their own.

         Others sharply disagreed.  They argued the child’s rights trump the mother’s rights.  They say it is simply unfair for a child to grwo up in a home where there is a man present who does not intend to be ther father.

     Where do you come down?



  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    I think it was a very wise decision.

    Don’t want to be a dad? Don’t live with women with kids (or who want them)?

    Enough is enough with the selfishness vis-a-vis the kids. They have little say in the matter, and they are the most vulnerable parties.

    Besides, a woman should have a child with the intention of raising him alone. Besides the fact that it’s unfair to the child, it’s being clueless about the demands of parenthood. I’m married, and my husband and I eek by.

  2. 2
    Barbara Says:

    I, too, side with the courts. Way back I learned in an ethics class that the rights of the weaker party have priority. Clearly someone must be concerned for the child. This couple certainly isn’t.
    Surely the parents could have negotiated something — separation or parental responsibility — to resolve the disagreement BEFORE a child is conceived.

  3. 3
    Joanne Says:

    So, if she had had an affair instead and bore the child of another man and her common-law husband chose to stay, he would be legally responsible for this child?

    Couples should be able to make arrangements in a way that suits them. She wanted to have a child and he did not. If she is prepared to do the parenting and to be financially responsible, then what is the big deal?

    If he is abusive or neglectful of the child, then that is another story. Who has the right to tell them what they can and cannot do? How would this be any different if this child was a step-child with no father on the scene? I can’t see how a court can tell someone that they are legally responsible for a child they had no part in creating just because they live in the same house.

  4. 4
    SUZANNE Says:

    Joanne: what about the child? It may suit the parents, it doesn’t suit the child to grow up around a male parental figurehead and then see that man absolve himself of all parental responsibility when it suits him. It’s not just a question of the dad’s rights but of the child’s needs.

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