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"Let's Talk About Paternity Fraud"

 Guest Editorial by Tony Zizza


for USA TODAY Newspaper, "The Forum"

April 2001


It was the late novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand who said in so many words, that in a truly free society, there can be no unchosen obligations. This acute observation is indeed timeless. Taking responsibility for one's own chosen actions is one thing, and the right thing to do. Taking responsibility for actions that are not chosen or your own is quite another. I believe the words I'm looking for are the following: involuntary servitude.

America, it's time to talk about paternity fraud.

We seem to waste a lot of valuable opportunities to learn from one another by talking about things that are pointless. I'm not just talking about silly small talk and senseless gossip. We seem to have a love for the obvious, comfortable, and non-controversial.

But what in the world do you tell a man who has paid financial and emotional child support for years upon learning he's---not the daddy? Not by a DNA long shot. The word "sorry" won't cut it, neither will "look at the support you gave as a gift." Try again.

We need to do much more for all of America's paternity fraud victims. So what's being done?

Ohio, Texas, Colorado and several other states have paternity fraud legislation in the books/works. These states recognize the simple truth that if a woman knowingly tells the wrong man he's the father, fraud has been committed and a family will eventually fall to ruin.

How does a child benefit when he learns the dad he knows is not "biologically" his own? Doesn't the child deserve the truth? Why isn't paternity fraud taken more seriously?

The numbers are almost surreal. Go to any DNA lab and you will learn that 30 percent of the fathers tested, thought to answer the question: "whose your daddy?", are in fact, not daddy. We get back to a common excuse for the mothers who have lied to both men and children.

Well, won't the children suffer more when they learn the truth?

I, and thousands of paternity fraud victims state the truth is always what matters, and it is not truthfulness in action when men across this country pay weekly child support for some other man's children he's not paying child support for.

Perhaps the mothers who chose to engage in paternity fraud knew the real daddy made less money. What a country. What are we going to do?

In Georgia, the issue of paternity fraud has taken center stage thanks to the tireless work of a paternity fraud victim by the name of Carnell Smith.

Smith spearheads an organization which is called Citizens Against Paternity Fraud. The website can be accessed by going to .

Georgia's House of Representatives recently passed paternity fraud legislation (HB369) lobbied for by Smith and others by a vote of 163-0. Sounds like the state that can change it's own flag can do something about horrific fraud, right?

Wrong. When the bill was presented to Sen. Charles Tanksley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he stalled and did not call for a vote. This, despite HB369 flying through the House of Representatives at 163-0. Instead, Sen. Tanksley called for a vote on HB130 which allowed DNA testing---on the deceased.

So, in Georgia, we the living are not allowed to be free of paternity fraud via DNA testing. Undaunted, Carnell Smith and his supporters are keeping up the fight because paternity fraud has unbelievable consequences for America's families.

America's families have plenty of challenges to deal with every day of the week. We don't really think that it's an unfair expectation to know that the man you call dad every day is really yours for keeps, do we?

Paternity fraud is a crime, and crime shouldn't pay.




Tony Zizza
3108 Tree Terrace Pkwy
Austell, GA 30168
home ph: (770) 944-0744
work ph: (770) 952-4500 x28378
Zizza, is a free-lance writer, who resides in Atlanta, Georgia


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