Monday, February 16, 2009

Public reaction

News last week from the UK of a 13-year-old boy fathering a child has been followed this week with the news that the boy, Alfie Patten, is only one of three teenagers who claim they could be the father of Maisie. Two other lads, one 14, the other 16, claim that they, too, slept with Chantelle Steadmans (then 15) and could be Maisie's real father. One is even calling for a DNA test to confirm the child's parentage. According to The Daily Telegraph today, both of the other boys and their parents (although what they could add is unclear) have made sworn statements in front of a solicitor detailing their nights of sex with Chantelle. Chantelle's family insist she lost her virginity to Alfie and that he is the father. Earlier reports had suggested that Chantelle was taking birth control pills but missed one.
My question: is it possible that there would be fewer "fathers" stepping forward if the story had not made front page news around the world? This is where newspaper reporting just doesn't work sometimes ... I'm curious to know when Alfie was identified as the father - before or after the birth. It's unlikely that Chantelle kept her pregnancy secret and you'd think that all of the lads might have cottoned on sooner that they could have been the father - rather than when the birth became "news". But at least there might be some support and help forthcoming for mother and child given the story has gained such prominence .. and served as a reminder for others to be vigilant with their chosen method of birth control. (My Uncle Mick used to say that a pill held firmly between the knees worked every time!)

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