Human Rights and Unmarried Motherhood

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, expectant and new mothers have the right to the support and protection they require in order to keep their babies, without fear that they will lose their babies due to poverty, lack of resources or support, or adoption industry coercion. Single mothers and their babies have the same rights as married mothers to the support and protection they need in order to remain together with their children. The rights relevant to unwed mothers are given below, and the violation of these rights since 1948 led to many mothers losing their newborns to adoption.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. [The incarceration of, degrading and inhumane treatment of, or withholding of proper medical care from unmarried  mothers violates this clause.]

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.[Unmarried mothers are to be treated no differently than other mothers, are not to be denied services and treatment accorded to mothers who are older, married, or wealthier.]

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. [Involuntary confinement of pregnant unmarried mothers in maternity homes was therefore a violation of human rights. Note that at no time in history have unmarried fathers been involuntarily confined in homes in order to “rehabilitate” them]

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. [Artibrary interference with the mother’s family included removal of her baby at birth; forbidding the mother from seeing, holding, caring for her baby, and taking her baby home with her; administering psychotropic medications and forcing her in this state to sign surrender papers. Mother and baby are a family unit, and therefore these actions were and are a violation of human rights]

Article 16.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. [The unmarried mother and her baby were therefore entitled to protection by society and the State. Coercing surrenders and taking babies from unmarried  mothers in order to provide babies to meet consumer demand was a human rights violation]

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. [All mothers were, and are, entitled to the soical assistance and standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of herself and her baby. Financial coercion that forces her to surrender her baby, via governments withholding this support, is a human rights violation]

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. [Discrimination on the basis of marital status is a human rights violation. All mothers  were entitled to the special care and assistance they required in order to keep their babies]