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Letter: Lesbian mother pursued by CSA

Sir: I am a lesbian mother on Income Support who, like Lisa and Dawn Whiting, is being pursued by the Child Support Agency to name my daughter's sperm donor ("Lesbians told by CSA to name the fathers of 'pickle- jar' babies", 14 May).

I don't know his real name or whereabouts. But if the CSA won't accept this, my daughter and I face a 40 per cent weekly benefit cut which will leave us with pounds 60 a week to live on. Thousands of single-mother families have been impoverished in this way; many more have been forced off benefits.

The Act is only concerned with cutting benefits and taking away a woman's right to choose whether to have children and with whom. Otherwise, why are we targeted when women who are not on benefits or who can afford private clinics are not? How can sperm donors be treated as fathers? Do sperm and money equal fatherhood?

There is increasing recognition that the unwaged work women do caring for children and others should be valued. Yet single mothers continue to be treated as scroungers who need "real jobs". Every mother, including lesbian mothers, is a working mother and should be entitled to state support. Will New Labour abolish the 40 per cent penalty or do they support "a woman's right to choose" only before birth?


Campaign Against the Child Support Act

London NW6