born without parents: Under X

It is possible, in France, for a woman to anonymously, legally give birth and then hand over her child to the state. Adoption comes without a name or face of the adult, only a child who is sent into the world with no formal backstory [1].

The most pressing issue here is the lack of a medical and biological history:

One of the most frustrating things for children born sous X who attempt to seek out their birth mother is that the information they desire is generally held in a file somewhere. When women exercise their right to give birth sous X, the state generally gathers some facts about them, but refuses to disclose these to the offspring unless it has the mother’s consent. Many who defend the rights of children born sous X accuse the authorities of not helping mothers who are often crippled by guilt to rethink their original decision, and of blocking rather than facilitating contact between family members.

Even cases such as that of Dominique Léonard face these barriers: her daughter Laura developed multiple sclerosis when she was studying for her baccalaureate and needs to know her mother’s medical history in order to receive the correct treatment. Mrs Léonard was told by the adoption agency that had dealt with her case: “You can employ all the lawyers on earth, you will never win the right to see your file.”

Even if files of necessary information are kept, it is possible that they may do no good. The will of the mother can obviously affect the child, with one having never seen the face of the other.

It is certainly possible for parents to overcome the grief that this process can bring. Likewise, children are resilient in the same manner. But files of necessary information should be legally required for those who wish to remain anonymous. This information should also be accessible for any child who needs it. Stripped of personally identifying information, a biological picture of the family can be had while sticking to original intent of the law as it currently stands.

The entire article is available here and is bound to bring up discussion regarding the morality of remaining anonymous and the law’s efficacy in preventing abortion and infanticide, among other ideas.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/les-enfants-x-denied-their-true-identity-2333283.html

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2 comments
  1. jskitter said:

    In the case of medical histories, why not have the keepers of the files make contact with the mothers?
    This would preserve anonymity as much as the secrecy of the files.

    • bovis said:

      Even today, where contact is easier than ever, it can still be hard to find people you knew 10+ years ago. Initially, I’d like to see a mandatory list of information that needs to be had before a child can be left as X. Obviously, this will not be entirely correct over time, as the mother’s ailments can change. A base history is a good place to start, though.

      Would it be best to have the file keepers make contact with each mother in any case that information is needed? I’d like to see that be supplemented by a yearly contact, or contact every several years, to keep information updated.

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