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Sunday, February 19, 2006
Dubious Paternity Fraud Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 18 WorldNetDaily article makes claims about paternity fraud that the evidence it cites doesn't support.

The unbylined article claims that "one state that examined the problem found as many as 30 percent of those paying child support were, indeed, not the biological fathers of the children being supported," later citing a "comprehensive study" by the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men.

But the commission's November 2005 report doesn't study paternity fraud. Discussion of paternity fraud takes up roughly half a page in the 43-page report (on page 22) ; the bulk of the report looks at other fatherhood-related issues and male victims of domestic violence. Rather than a "comprehensive study," the report merely cites claims from "The Blood Bank Association, and Lee Newman, administrator of Safe-NH" as well as "Carnell Smith, a paternity fraud expert who administers http://www.paternityfraud.com."

Safe-NH is a New Hampshire-based group that appears to have as its main purpose increasing the profile of domestic abuse against men. According to its search engine, the only reference to "paternity" on its website is a link to a website called PaternityFraudDNA, which has a page that claims: "Year after year the Blood Bank Association of America reports that about 30% of paternity tests they conducted were negative, almost one out of three!"

Additionally, there appears to be no such thing as the "Blood Bank Association of America" or, as the New Hampshire study stated, the "Blood Bank Association"; there is something called the American Association of Blood Banks, but no freely available information there (some content is behind a subscription wall) offers information about paternity test results.

In other words, the New Hampshire report is repeating secondhand statistics from people and organizations with a bias on the issue.

In addition to being secondhand, the statistic is likely not representative of all child custody/support cases. It is logical to presume that paternity tests are conducted only in cases where paternity has become an issue, and that because there is a dispute, there is likely to be a significant number of negative results. Applying this subgroup to all child custody/support cases -- as WND does with the subhead "30% of those named as fathers bilked of child support unjustly" -- ignores what is likely the majority of cases where paternity is not in dispute.

WND is jumping on the bandwagon of something that may not even be that much of an issue.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2006 9:47 AM EST

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