Context Of History
The picture above, part of a car? Of course not. It is a saddle, used during a different means of primary transportation.
Question: Is there such a thing as half-car and half-horse? I haven't seen one, have you? Does one exist?
The picture above is historically known as a Centaur. I consider this to be an excellent example of modern-day laws regulating domestic relations. Why?
For the lack of a better phrase, "law makers" have yet to realize what the significance DNA testing has done to change the entire spectrum of understanding and the impact Title 23, Section 5102 has to offer. In the blink of an eye society went from the horse and buggy days to the automobile; however, as if we still have a horse, at best, with turn signals now affixed to its blinders.
Breaking sequence for a moment, I have been reviewing old Pennsylvania laws, going back to the 1700's. Once section, Fornication And Bastardy, from a circular published in 1853. The sub-parts of this law, at that time, were of Acts promulgated during a large span of time. As the law read in 1853, each paragraph has a reference to the Act of origin. Dates range from 1705, 1718, 1790, 1791, 1794 and 1852. That means that certain sections of the 1853 law were passed over a hundred years prior and still in effect at that time.
A phrase I use, called "Inside The Circle" pertains to the family of words all inter-related to each other. Ever hear of the word, extrapolation? Simply, to pull out from something. Take the word female. When a female is given the label, mother, we extrapolate the word child, since the label mother connotes a female with child. The phrase "unwed mother" gave birth to a bastard child as a wed mother bore a legitimate child. Both also connote a father since a woman needs to be inseminated to have a child.
As mentioned on a different page of this site, a powerful law was enacted in Pennsylvania recently that has yet to be reaped of its potential, as cited below:
§ 5102. Children declared to be legitimate.
(a) General rule.--All children shall be legitimate irrespective of the marital status of their parents, and, in every case where children are born out of wedlock, they shall enjoy all the rights and privileges as if they had been born during the wedlock of their parents except as otherwise provided in Title 20 (relating to decedents, estates and fiduciaries).
The word "bastard" many years ago held a dreadful stigma. As in 1853, such as in paragraph 8 (enacted 1794), law makers tried to curtail the murder of children as criminal acts. Back then, it was such a social embarrassment to have a child "out of wedlock", certain mothers would kill the child at birth and conceal the corpse. (To me, the word "marriage" had a price that was too high.) Other women would commit suicide finding out they were pregnant. The social structure surrounding the word "marriage", against good verses bad pregnancies, was a vane attempt to create a morality that gave birth to act of madness such as killing children or suicide.
As for a giving birth, venue today is accepted where the child is born. I argue that archaic thought is ripe for review upon the horizon of DNA testing. I further argue, that the very precedent opened the door for advent medical testing to abolish it in the then future. The very hold of this long-established precedent fails to examine the conditions how it came to be. In paragraph 6 (enacted by Act 23 September, 1791), in relevant part:
"Whereas it sometimes happens that bastard chlidren...and others begotten within one of the counties of the state, are born in another county, and difficulties have arisen about the place of trial; and it is reasonable and just that the reputed fathers of bastard children should be at the expense of their maintenance; Be in enacted, That the latter case, the prosecution of the reputed father shall be in the county where the bastard child shall be born, and the like sentence shall be passed as if the bastard child had been or shall have been begotten within the same county..." (Emphasis added.)
Back then before DNA testing, or other medical advancements such as ultra sound, the womb was a sealed place, locked behind a closed door that only nature could open as she pleased. Prior to medical advancements, the physical act of the "birth" was all they had to discover not only a live child but the sex of the child as well. It seems the law makers then understood that venue should be where the act was committed (a long held logic of English law) but want of those involved to admit where or what county the matter occurred, the presumed default for venue was established, by expediency, with the place of birth. (For that I concur, given the circumstance, the logical thing to do.)
Question: What difficulties did arise about the place of trial? First of all, to be the father of a bastard child was a criminal offense: two fold. Back then the punishment for the first part, fornication (sex between those who were not married to each other) was "twenty-one lashes on his or her back back, well laid on, at the common whipping post", or suffer a heavy fine. I doubt many men would rush along to admit liability. Lashes are one thing but the whip of stigma lasted much longer and cut deeper than corporal wounds. On the other hand, it was a little more difficult for a woman to hide the birth, less she murder and conceal the child or have advantage of other arrangements.
I argue the power of stigma for the "unwed" to have children gave rise to a small few who wanted to admit to the act. It was common for a female to leave her area and have the child in seclusion for the sake to hide shame. (Often the father would turn a blind eye. Many children were given to orphanages as means of disposal in secret.) Simply, with this artificial elevation of morality surrounding marriage, gave way to all sorts of diabolical acts that weighed more then what the morality tried to preserve.
If there are no more "bastard children" then the class distinction between "wed" and "unwed" is meaningless and moot (no longer relevant). That means shame has been neutralized by the nullification of the word "bastard".
The next part deals with flight. Back then, if a unmarried woman, pregnant with child, took flight to hide shame, I doubt many fathers would be in pursuit. Fail to give chase was abandonment upon the father. Or, a chase of no contest if the man knew not where to seek. (No doubt contacts were made, preparations in wait, as the pregnant woman took to the path.)
Also, back then the laws governing kidnapping, theft and abduction all play into the script. What would happen, back then, if a married woman, pregnant, took flight with her husband's unborn child? This section of law now comes alive again with the passage of Title 23, Section 5102 as cited above. One might say all women are married, or unmarried, for their marital status has been nullified. If the fruit of an unmarried tree is a bastard, and then if the fruit is declared legitimate, then the declaration also encompasses the tree who bore the fruit and would further encompass the whole act for that which fertilized the tree. Do apples come from a pear tree? Does a fig fall from an olive tree? According to Title 23, Section 5102, Yes. For there is now no difference.
Question: What do we have today, a mare or Mazda? What we have is mostly horse.
What we have is Children & Youth and Domestic Relations, only utilizing medical advancements to feed the horse. Meaning? They still cling to the old, archaic phraseology, now abolished, to favor females that are not married, only using medical science to secure "support" for the bastard-in-practice child.
I argue the keystone of this house of cards is the "bastard child". Take that away and all the related words, such as "married", "unwed" cease to exist. Being vulgar for a moment, if there are no more slaves then there are no more masters. In this equation, such at the current structure of the Acknowledgment of Paternity form, its whole design pertained to a bastard child. That is why they used the phrase "unmarried woman". Once Title 23, Section 5102 was enacted, it was time to sever the horse from the car.
Why hasn't things been severed? I will answer that shortly.