Christian social concern charity CARE has released research which it says shows the Government is ignoring the public’s views on the need for fathers.
Of the 505 published responses to the Department of Health’s consultation on the current requirement that those involved in the IVF process must have regard for the need of any resulting children for a father, only 103 backed removing the provision.
CARE has brought to light these findings after it examined the published submissions to the 2005 Review of the Human Fertility and Embryology Act which consulted on the fathers provision.
Dan Boucher, Director of Parliamentary Affairs at CARE, said, “These findings are the source of real concern given that Government has clearly ignored the balance of consultation responses and gone out on a limb, developing a Draft Bill (the Draft Human Tissues and Embryos Bill) which, if implemented, will remove the father’s provision.”
Parliamentarians have also expressed disquiet. Labour MP, Claire Curtis Thomas MP, the Vice Chair of the All Party Pro Life Group, stated, “It is a matter of great concern that the Government has not listened properly to the people of the UK.
“Whilst there is no question that consultations are plebiscites, there is also no question that if Government ignores consultation responses in this cavalier manner, people will have good reason not to bother with consultations and our politics will become very much the poorer.
“The overwhelming evidence demonstrating the importance of fathers affirms the wisdom of the balance of consultation responses.”
Philippa Taylor, CARE Family and Bioethics consultant concurred, saying that academic research had clearly demonstrated the importance of fathers for their children, especially boys.
“Indeed, as a society we have been increasingly confronted by the problems of fatherlessness resulting from death or family breakdown,” she said.
She said the proposal “to deliberately create children who will be denied their father throughout childhood demonstrates a failure of judgement on the part of the Government in relation to the best interests of the child”.
“If there is any question about the effective working of the current arrangements then we must improve the delivery mechanisms associated with the fathers clause, not remove it,” she said.
Mr Boucher accused the Government of being “so very out of step with other aspects of Government policy” in light of its position on fathers in the draft bill.
He pointed to the green paper on joint birth certificates published by the Work and Pensions Department just last week, which stressed the importance of fathers and of engaging them fully in the parenting process.
CARE is urging new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the new Cabinet to revisit the approach to fathers they have inherited in the draft bill, and to maintain the current obligation in the 1990 Human Fertility and Embryology Act to have regard for the child’s need for a father.
Full story at Christian Today.