"The truth is out there" - Commentary on "Move to outlaw secret DNA testing by fathers"
by Barry Pearson
[ Title page | Next page ]


The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) recently published its report "Inside Information". Although only a relatively small part of the report (essentially Chapter 10 and little more) concerned paternity testing, most of the news articles in the press majored on paternity tests, as indicated by the title of this paper.

It is not clear what lay behind this press focus on paternity tests. The Press Notice didn't specifically mention the topic. The evidence gathered, and later published, by the HGC in order to develop the report doesn't appear to have provided sufficient input to the topic. The HGC hasn't begun its consultation on "the supply of paternity tests direct to the public".

Articles in the press about paternity testing services are typically badly informed. For example, a typical statement will be that men may use such tests to evade their child support responsibilities. But a man who is not the biological father doesn't actually have any child support responsibilities to be evaded! The CSA offers official paternity tests to determine the matter, and won't accept the results of an unofficial test.

In order to balance the typical limitations of press coverage, I have taken a single newspaper article and provided a paragraph-by-paragraph commentary on it. The article is identified by the title of this paper, and it is particularly interesting because part of the article quotes Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of the Human Genetics Commission.

I don't know whether Baroness Kennedy was quoted accurately, nor whether her statements were properly used in context. That is irrelevant for this paper. The purpose of using that article here is to provide a convenient framework for developing the ideas being expressed. These ideas are probably in the minds of many people and need analysis, whether or not Baroness Kennedy articulated them on this occasion.

This paper provides a current-day position on paternity testing services. An accompanying paper provides a vision for the next generation:

“Knowledge is bliss” - Towards a society without paternity surprises.

[ Title page | Next page ]
Page last updated: 12 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2002