by Julia J. Trevizo on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
A recent controversy over birth certificates in Arkansas demonstrates that these slips of paper are imbued with political and social meaning. In 2015, a married couple, Marisa and Terrah Pavan, had their first child, who was conceived through sperm donation. The Arkansas Department of Health, or ADH, listed only Terrah, who gave birth to their daughter, on the baby's birth certificate. This was contrary to state law, under which the spouse of the birth mother also is automatically listed.
But it's not always easy to find the document. That situation is especially acute for displaced people. Birth certificates are important for family reunification. Children born in refugee camps face the prospect of becoming stateless if they can't prove their parentage, and thus where they can claim nationality. This is tricky for Syrians in Turkey, for instance, as Syrian citizenship passes down through the father, and details of the father aren't always known.