« Yves Magloe and "Guy Candy": two PCC updates | Main | Friday Random Ten: getting ready to leave Typepad edition »

September 28, 2006



It also bars a parent who has impregnated a daughter from benefiting from the right to sue those who violate other provisions in the bill.

Leaving aside the "parent" term, I'm still a little perplexed by this sentence as a matter of English grammar. As it's written, it sounds like he can sue, but he can't actually recover monetary damages.

Which is at least as screwed up as the "parent" language.


Is it possible they are using the term "parent" because that is what the bill uses?


Macht, good call. I looked it up, and that's what the House bill uses. Still doesn't explain what kind of a parent other than a father could impregnate a daughter. If they meant guardian, they could easily have said "male guardian", as a female guardian is as incapable of impregnating a teen girl as that girl's biological mother.

Any lawyers want to offer a reasonable defense for why you would use parent instead of father in this instance?


Fizz, "benefitting from the right to sue" doesn't mean that he'll be able to sue, only without a monetary remedy. It means that he won't be able to sue at all. The right to sue is a benefit generally conferred to certain individuals. This exception means they won't benefit from this "right to sue".


Sorry for the double post. There are few statutes/ acts that explictly refer to either gender (father, mother, he, she, woman, man). An exception is likely older statutes that assumed the legal subject was always male. Legal documents strive fervently for statutory neutrality, or at least a facade of neutrality, even when it is ridiculous and illogical, as in this case. Using "father" (the biologically realistic noun) would make it a "political" sentence, and it would be more controversial than just putting down the vague, gender neutral noun that pretends child sexual abuse and rape is not incredibly gendered.


This isn't "Politically correct". PC terms seek to be precise and non-judgemental (mail carrier instead of mailman, or fire fighter vs fireman: more precise, gender-nuetral). This is intentionally muddled.


Well, "parent" is the gender neutral form of "father." It's not PC in the way we're accustomed to, but it is parallel to anti-discrimination policies not mentioning specific races who are typically discriminated against, and implicitly allowing a vague definition inclusive of all races (including white). Clearly, this masks the real purpose of anti-discrimiation laws and equates supposed discrimination against whites with that of very real systemic discrimination against people of color. This intentional refusal to acknowledge the reality of the situations that call for these statutes is by no means accidental or unusual.


It'll be a legal thing. It's like one of the laws on rape here; it was gendered male in the '60s, because no-one actually thought females would be able or would do it. Until a (rare) case of it came up, and it emerged oops, the law didn't cover it. It was made gender neutral pronto, but it'll just be a bit of legal anal retentiveness. Pass it as a gendered Bill, and who knows-what with science and sperm donors and what-not, in the future a woman might be able to impregnate another woman by some bizarre and icky procedure. It sounds silly, and I don't seriously think its either possible or probable, but legal drafters have to consider these things. It's safest to be gender neutral when considering crimes, and I suppose that means you have to be gender neutral all the time, even when it is insane. That's where inclusive language gets you, Hugo! :-)


Agreed with John here. If the notification statute refers to "parent", you want to use "parent" to make sure there aren't any rare cases that can slip through the cracks. I'd actually have drafted it using "child" rather than "daughter" for the same reason - you don't have to then make a sex vs. gender distinction to make sure transgendered people are covered by the statute.

L. Cougar

I wonder if using the word "father" could leave the bill up to a legal challenge on the basis of discrimination, no matter how far-fetched it seems. Which might hold the entire bill up to greater scrutiny, or at least delay it's implementation. So the authors of the bill aren't going to leave that loophole.

Robin Lionheart

I suppose when the day comes that a mother impregnates her daughter with a turkey baster, they'll be ready.


Robin, silly as it sounds, stranger things have happened-Reading the Court page in my local paper, I remain astounded at what people can get up to.
I suppose in the 1960's the notion of a man being raped by a woman was just as silly.


I think they said "parent" and meant "parent or guardian," since "Father" could be construed to being limited to limited term...are we talking biological father, adopted father, custodial father, etc.?

But if you're going to campaign for the use language and images which clearly and accurately reflects the subject matter, then I would fully support you.


You can just go read the legislation itself for these answers. (A Thomas search will pull up the most recent version, circa 9/26, I believe.)

The current version says that a parent who committed an act of incest can't sue under the legislation. That means that if Dad gets his daughter pregnant, he can't sue Auntie for taking Daughter across state lines for an abortion.

The legistlation doesn't prevent the other parent from suing, though, and it apparently doesn't address other criminal behavior. So if Mom knew about the incest but did nothing, she can sue Auntie for taking Daughter out of state for an abortion; if Dad sold Daughter to Uncle Bob for crack, Dad may be criminally liable for all kinds of things, but since Dad didn't commit incest, Dad can still sue.


I personally support the death penalty for any parent who would shame their daughter enough that she should seek to cross state lines for a clandestine abortion.

But then, I'm a liberal freak.


Woman begs, borrows, or steals semen
Woman drugs daughter
Woman uses device to implant semen in daughter
Daughter gets pregnant
Who has impregnated the daughter?
*** It is not probable, but it IS possible ***


The turkey baster thing has already happened.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Regular reads

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 01/2004