by Romana M. Brown on Jun 14, 2018 Birth Certificate
The legal skirmishes over who should be able to see a birth certificate, and what information it should contain, seem likely to amplify rather than diminish. As technology improves and legal frameworks for parenting continue to evolve, new controversies are bound to play out over birth certificates new and old. Will sperm donors, egg donors, surrogates, and others be reflected? Will these documents allow for more than three people to be named as parents? Will increasingly sophisticated biometrics be embedded into them?
For that reason, the birth certificate becomes the first object most people own. Bound up in official identity and personal relationships, its stakes are high. Doubting the accuracy or provenance of a birth certificate can cause shock waves that ripple out to years or even decades later. The "birther" conspiracy during Barack Obama's first presidential candidacy is a notable example. Donald Trump and others claimed that Barack Obama hadn't been born in the United States and thus was ineligible for the presidency. The birth certificate is a battleground for debates about parentage, gender, identity, and governmental responsibility.